Facebook today unveiled "Home" software, placing the world's social network front and centre on Android users' smartphones.
Its new family of apps will let users display mobile versions of their newsfeed and messages prominently on the home screens of a wide range of devices based on Google's Android operating system, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said.
Home is a free download that runs on select Android phones such as HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy SIII and Samsung Galaxy Note 2.
"Why do we need to go into those apps in the first place to see what's going on with those we care about?" Zuckerberg told the hundreds of reporters and industry executives gathered at Facebook's Menlo Park campus.
"We want to bring all this content to the front."
Facebook executives showed a new "chatheads" messaging service and "coverfeed" -- both of which dominate users' home screens and continuously feed messages, photos, status updates and other content from Facebook's network.
For Facebook, bolstering its mobile presence is critical. Nearly 70 per cent of Facebook members used mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets to access its service at the end of 2012, and 157 million of Facebook's roughly 1 billion users accessed the service solely on a mobile device.
The company has stepped up efforts to ensure that its revenue-generating ads can be viewed on mobile devices and Zuckerberg has said that the company's engineers are now focused on creating "mobile-first experiences."
Reports that Facebook was developing its own smartphone have sporadically appeared for years though Zuckerberg has shot them one down, saying that building a Facebook phone would be "the wrong strategy."
With specialised software that adds a layer on top of Android, Facebook may get many of the benefits of having its own phone without the costs and risks of actually building a hardware device.