Facebook Home – the Not-Quite Facebook Phone

For months now, the Facebook rumors and speculation have been flying:

  • “Facebook is thinking about launching a phone.”
  • “Facebook is going to launch a phone.”
  • “What will the Facebook phone look like?” 
  • “Will the Facebook phone be a Google killer or an Apple killer?” 
  • “When will Facebook finally unveil its phone?” 

New Facebook Home for Android smartphonesWell, the when question has been answered. But what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled last Thursday wasn’t exactly the long-rumored and now-expected Facebook Phone. But neither was it just another Facebook mobile phone app. It’s really something in the middle. Something called Facebook Home.

Facebook Home is a kind of super-app that takes over your Android phone’s home and lock screens and fills them with live updates from your Facebook account with a feature called Cover Feed.

With Facebook Home, you’ll not only be able to see your Facebook news feed, including full-screen photos, but you’ll also be able to Like things, comment on posts, or initiate Facebook Messenger Chats. New messages, by the way, will pop up a round icon showing your friend’s face. It’s a new feature called “Chat Heads” that will allow you to chat even while using other phone features.

As Facebook describes it, Home is “the family of apps that puts your friends at the heart of your phone.” Visit the official Facebook Home page for their overview and highlights. There’s also a brief FAQ that covers the basics of using Facebook Home.

But what about some more objective opinions?

Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg wrote that he “found Facebook Home easy to use, elegantly designed and addictive,” noting that it prompted him to interact with Facebook more than ever. For big Facebook fans, he added, this could be “a big win.”

The New York Times’ David Pogue had a more mixed response, mostly noting the tradeoffs Home users will have to make (loss of easy access to other apps) and some “confusing” aspects of the user interface. In summary, he wrote “everything in Home is attractive, smooth and quick. At the same time, there’s something vaguely incoherent about the whole operation.”

On Mashable, Lance Ulanoff writes that he found the scrolling Cover Feed “undeniably compelling” and that Facebook Home may “suck you back in” if you’ve been drifting away from Facebook. He said in just 36 hours, it prompted him to spend “more time on Facebook than I  have in the past three months.” But, he reminds us that the Cover Feed is expected to get ads at some point in the near future, a feature that “may annoy some people.”

Facebook Home is scheduled to be available tomorrow, April 12, as a free download from the Google Play store on these four Android phones:

  • Samsung Galaxy S III
  • Samsung Galaxy Note
  • HTC One X
  • HTC One X+

Other Android phones will follow. No iPhone, however. Apple’s iOS doesn’t allow the same kind of Home screen takeover that Google’s Android OS does.

And speaking of phones, there is one new phone that’s being called, informally at leaset, the Facebook Phone. It’s the HTC First — as in the first phone to have Facebook Home preinstalled, which Facebook claims is “the best Home experience possible.”

Reviews of the HTC First and its Facebook Home integration were mixed. TechCrunch called the new phone “an impressive first try” and did a nice round-up of other HTC First and Facebook Home reviews.

Mobile Websites: Do I Really Need One?

If you’ve got a business of any size (even if it’s just you at home), I probably don’t have to convince you that you need to build a business website at your own domain name.

Your customers expect you to have a website to consider you a legitimate business.

That’s why we started offering our web hosting services way back in 1995. But a lot has changed in those 18 years. Just having a website isn’t enough for many businesses.

Most businesses also need a mobile website.

If you’re wondering why, remember the immortal (if apocryphal) words of the notorious bank robber Willie Sutton. When asked why he robbed banks, Sutton is said to have responded, “Because that’s where the money is.”

That’s a pretty concise summary of why you need mobile site for your business. More and more, mobile is where your customers are. And if that’s where your customers are, that’s where your money is.

Our Mobile Planet - study of smartphone usage and need for mobile websitesConsider these stats from a 2012, Google-sponsored study of smartphone usage called Our Mobile Planet (PDF):

  • 96% of smartphone users have researched a product or service on their device
  • 94% of smartphone users look for local information on their phone
  • 90% purchase, contact the business or take another action after local research
  • 66% access the Internet every day on their smartphone
  • 57% search on their smartphones every day
  • 37% have researched on their smartphone and then purchased on a computer
  • 35% have made a purchase on their phone
  • 32% have researched on their smartphone and then purchased the product offline

That’s a lot of money to leave on the table.

Also consider that smartphone penetration is still growing and 31% of smartphone users expect to make even more mobile purchases in the future.

That’s why most of our web hosting plans and all of our ecommerce hosting plans include a mobile website with click-to-map and click-to-call functionality. Because we don’t want you to miss out on the ever-growing mobile market of smartphone and tablet users.

These are the EarthLink Web Hosting plans that include a mobile-optimized website:

 

 

How to Get EarthLink Email on Your Android Smartphone

How to add EarthLink email to Android phone.If you have EarthLink high-speed or dial-up Internet access, you also get EarthLink email (up to 8 addresses with automatic spam and virus protection and other features).

Today we’ll show you how simple it is to use your EarthLink email on your Android phone.

At home, you may log on to Web Mail to get your email. On the go with an Android smartphone, you could also access the mobile version of Web Mail by going to https://m.webmail.earthlink.net/ with your phone’s web browser.

But it’s also easy to set up your Android’s built-in email app to use your EarthLink email.

Here’s a walk-through using the Samsung Galaxy S3 as an example (other Android phones will have similar steps and setting information but some details will be different). See our previous posts if you want to add EarthLink email to your iPhone or iPad.

  1. Locate the Email app on your Home screen (you may need to scroll if you don’t see it right away).
  2. Tap on the Email icon to open the email app.
  3. Press the options menu to the left of the Home button.
  4. Select Settings from the list that pops up.
  5. At the top of the Settings page, click the plus sign +.
  6. Under Choose an account to set up, tap Others.
  7. Enter your EarthLink email address and password (tap the Show password checkbox if you want to make sure you entered your password correctly.
  8. Tap the box next to Send email from this account by default if EarthLink will be your primary email account on the phone.
  9. Tap the Next button to have your phone attempt to add email server settings automatically (if that doesn’t work you may need to go back to this step and choose Manual setup).
  10. Confirm or change the default settings for how often you want to check for email, if you want to be notified, etc. Tap Next when you’re done.
  11. You should get a confirmation that your account is set up. You can now choose to give the account a name (otherwise it will just be listed as your email address) and choose how your name will be displayed on outgoing messages (if you don’t change it, your username will be displayed by default). Tap Next when you’re done.
  12. Tap Done with accounts at the bottom of the screen.

 Entering Email Settings Manually

  1. If step 9 above does not work to set up your phone automatically, you should choose Manual setup and then continue following these steps.
  2. Tap on POP3 account.
  3. Enter your full EarthLink email address as your User name and enter your email password.
  4. Enter pop.earthlink.net in the POP3 server field.
  5. In the Port field, enter 110.
  6. Tap on the Delete email from server field and choose When I delete from Inbox.
  7. Click Next to confirm your incoming server settings.
  8. Under SMTP server, enter smtpauth.earthlink.net.
  9. In the Port field, enter 587.
  10. Tab the Require sign-in box.
  11. Confirm your User name (should be your full email address) and password.
  12. Tap the Next button.
  13. Confirm or change the default settings for how often you want to check for email, if you want to be notified, etc. Tap Next when you’re done.
  14. You should get a confirmation that your account is set up. You can now choose to give the account a name (otherwise it will just be listed as your email address) and choose how your name will be displayed on outgoing messages (if you don’t change it, your username will be displayed by default). Tap Next when you’re done.
  15. Tap Done with accounts at the bottom of the screen.

The New BlackBerry: Can It Recapture Its Old Magic?

These days, we know you access the Internet with more than just your home high-speed or dial-up connection.

It’s a smartphone world. So here’s the latest smartphone news.

New BlackBerry Z10 smartphone with new BlackBerry 10 OSRIM (you remember them, right, the company behind of the once-dominant BlackBerry) has rebranded itself to (you guessed it) BlackBerry.

And they have a new operating system: the BlackBerry 10.

And two new phones: the Z10 and the Q10.

The struggling smartphone maker is hoping all these changes add up to a new lease on life and a revival of their fortunes.

RIM once had almost 45% of the U.S. smartphone market, but their share has dwindled down below 10%, well behind Android and Apple.

Are the changes too little, too late? Are the new OS and new phones good enough to win back customers?

According to the HuffingtonPost.com, the BlackBerry Z10 Is A Good Attempt.

Wired.com’s Gadget Lab thought “the software and hardware are up to the task. BlackBerry has done a solid job building an OS and phones people will actually use because they want to, not because their corporate IT departments say they have to.”

Gizmodo.com offers a side-by-side look at how the new BlackBerry Z10 stacks up the competition.

What do you think? Will the new BlackBerry lineup be successful? Do you think you’ll try one?

As always, let us know what you think.