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Facebook unveils new experience for Android phones

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Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2013 11:09 am | Updated: 1:23 pm, Thu Apr 4, 2013.

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) -- Facebook is unveiling a new experience for Android phones. The idea is to bring content right to you, rather than require people to check apps on the device.

The event comes amid rapid growth in the number of people who access Facebook from smartphones and tablet computers. More Android integration could help Facebook Inc. attract more mobile advertisers. Though mobile ads were a big concern for Facebook's investors even before the company's initial public offering last May, some of the worry has subsided as the company muscles its way into the market.

Last year, Facebook began showing ads to its mobile audience by shoehorning corporate-sponsored content into users' news feeds, which also include updates from friends and brands they follow. Facebook now faces the challenge of showing people mobile ads without annoying or alienating them.

Facebook's event was being held at its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

Here's a running account of Facebook's event, presented in reverse chronological order. All times are PDT.

Presenters include CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

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10:20 a.m.

The new service is called Home. Pictures from your Facebook news feed would take up the entire display screen. Zuckerberg says you'll be seeing the world through people rather than apps.

He gives an example of standing in line at a store and looking down at the phone to see photos of friends and family. It'll be possible to flip through the items. If there's something you like, just double tap on it to "like" it. You can also add comments from the home screen.

With this, Facebook doesn't believe you'll need to go to the Facebook app any more.

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10:15 a.m.

Zuckerberg says Facebook isn't building a Facebook phone, saying a Facebook-centered device might sell 10 million to 20 million units at best. Rather, it's building on the existing Android system to bring this experience to a wider group of Android users.

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10:10 a.m.

Zuckerberg talks about a new way to approach Facebook on phones.

He asks, "Why do we need to go into all the apps in the first place to see what is going on with the people we care about?" Better, he says, is to have that experience come right to the home screen, so you're always knowing what is going on around you.

He makes a comparison to the company's news feed feature, which brought friends' posts to a centralized place and reduced the need for people to check their friends' profile pages one by one.

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10:05 a.m.

Zuckerberg walks on stage and addresses the rumors head on: "Today, we're finally going to talk about that Facebook phone."

He then adds that more specifically, Facebook will talk about turning the Android phone into a simple, social device.

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