UPDATED: Facebook: Home features coming to Apple's iOS 'very soon'
Facebook Home, which rolled out late last week, is an alternative homescreen promising users more immediate and efficient access to Android applications and social media updates, deeply integrating the social networking platform into the mobile user experience. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company will not be directly porting Facebook Home to iOS, but some of its features will be coming to Apple devices in the near future.
"Home is based on the openness of Android. It allows users to customize in ways that Apple does not," Sandberg said. "We are going to release a new version [of our mobile app] on iOS, very soon… You will see some of the features from Home will be launched with Apple."
Sandberg stressed that iOS device owners should not expect the same experience as their Android counterparts, however. "You cannot develop on Apple with the same openness as you can on Android," she explained, but added "We are going to continue to develop for both."
Apple declined to comment.
Sandberg's comments follow a day after Facebook director of product Adam Mosseri told Bloomberg the social network has shown Home to both Apple and Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) executives. "We're just in an ongoing conversation," Mosseri said. "It may or may not be Home. We could also just bring some of the design values to the iOS app. That might be how it ends up. Or we could build just the lock screen. Maybe then it's not called Home, it's called something else."
Sources inside Facebook told The Next Web the social network is not in Home talks with either Apple or Microsoft, but that Facebook maintains healthy relationships with both firms. Sandberg did not comment on Facebook's plans to extend Home or some of its components to Windows Phone.
As Sandberg pointed out, Apple is highly unlikely to cede the kind of control Home has claimed on Android. At the same time, Microsoft has been publicly critical of the Home concept, with corporate vice president of corporate communications Frank X. Shaw calling the app "remarkably similar to the launch event we did for Windows Phone two years ago."
Writing on the Official Microsoft Blog soon after Facebook unveiled Home, Shaw said Microsoft built Windows Phone in 2011 by following the mantra "Put People First," bringing content to the homescreen and integrating different messaging services into one conversation--two key selling points of Facebook Home. "Millions of Windows Phone owners have already discovered how great a phone can be when it's designed this way, and they aren't shy about telling their friends," Shaw writes. "Naturally, some of those friends have been pretty frustrated that they haven't been able to get a 'People First' experience on their devices. So, we understand why Facebook would want to find a way to bring similar functionality to a platform that is sadly lacking it. But as Android owners know, that platform is complicated enough without adding another skin built around another metaphor, on top of what is already a custom variant of the OS."
Facebook now boasts more than 680 million mobile monthly active users across all platforms. Android users appear unimpressed with Home, however: Four days after the app went live on Google Play, it currently carries an average rating of just 2.3 stars out of five, with close to half of all user reviews slapping it with a rating of just one star.
Facebook expands Chat Heads to Messenger for Android
Microsoft exec slams Facebook Home, calls Android 'complicated enough'
Facebook divulges Home data collection policies to quell privacy fears
Facebook takes over Android with Home, AT&T to offer HTC First Facebook phone
Facebook: News Feed redesign is inspired by mobile
Article updated April 16 to reflect Sheryl Sandberg's comments.