Facebook (FB -5.12%) is giving Android users a treat with a new interface that will be available for select smartphones starting next week.
Facebook Home is the social-networking website operator's bold bet that smartphones should be about people -- not apps. The new experience starts at a phone's very welcome screen. Users downloading the interface will see Facebook serving up recent friend snapshots and notifications with intuitive navigation and some nifty tools to boot.
This is the right move for Facebook. There has been chatter for a few years that the company would put out its own phone, but that strategy never made sense. Anyone remember Kin? It lasted only a few weeks on the market. No one wants to be locked to a platform, and Facebook is addressing that reality with this neat interface that can be undone as easily as it was to put into play.
Facebook is now about to become an even bigger part of the mobile experience.
Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.
- BlackBerry (BB -2.16%) has decided to shut down its BBM Music service. The platform gave BlackBerry owners a catalog of tunes that grew virally as more people signed up for the $5-a-month plan. Once again, a smartphone company missed the point in social music.
- Apple (AAPL -5.64%) CEO Tim Cook apologized for the company's poorly communicated warranty practices in China. Since China is Apple's largest market outside the U.S., it's more important to save sales than to save face.
- Zynga (ZNGA -0.12%) is ready to bet on a new revenue stream. Its partnership with an overseas partner for real-money wagering in the U.K. became a reality this week. Zynga-themed slots, poker, blackjack, and roulette will now help Zynga diversify from its meandering social- and casual-gaming business. The house always wins, but does that also apply to the FarmVille barn?