In January, executives speaking during the company's fourth-quarter and year-end earnings meeting, called Facebook a "mobile company" and noted that the number of Facebook's monthly active mobile users jumped 57% from a year earlier to 680 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Facebook reported that it had more users accessing the network from mobile devices than from the Web.
Company executives also were quick to point out that mobile accounted for 23% of Facebook's ad revenue in the last quarter of 2012. That's up from 14% in the third quarter and zero at the beginning of last year.
To add an Android launcher to that mix should only help Facebook work its way further into the mobile market.
"This goes a long way to helping Facebook deal with this mobile issue," said Rob Enderle, an analyst with the Enderle Group. "At least from what I've seen so far, it's a good step in the right direction.... I think it's the only road for them to go down."
Jeff Kagan, an independent industry analyst, said this is a smart move for Facebook. But he doesn't envision a majority of Android users will download the new home screen.
"While I think Home will be a success, I don't think the majority of wireless users will be interested in this full time, always on, Facebook connection," he said. "But this will help Facebook continue to grow.... Mobile is a revolution in industry after industry. Today we never leave the house without our wallet, car keys and wireless phone. That's the direction we are moving in with wireless. And that's the future that Facebook wants to be a leader in."
Facebook unveiled its new Home launcher for Android devices on Thursday.
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is email@example.com.
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