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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Facebook Shows Off Its Flavor of Android

Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder and chief executive of Facebook, is holding a live news conference to show Facebook’s new phone software, designed for Google’s Android’s operating system. The New York Times is there and will update this post with details as they are revealed.

MENLO PARK, Calif. â€" Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder and chief executive of Facebook, said the company has developed new software to showcase the social network on mobile devices powered by Google’s Android operating system.

“You’re going to be able to turn your Android phone into a great social phone,” said Mr. Zuckerberg.

The new interface places a heavy emphasis on photos, much like the recent changes made to Facebook’s news feed feature on the Web.

Analysts say Facebook needs to find a way to play a bigger role in delivering what consumers want from their phones: ways to communicate, find information, shop and be entertained. The company would especially like to become that workhorse for the vast majority of its users who live outside the United States and from whom, so far, it barely profits.

Brazil and India are home to the largest blocs of Facebook users after the United States, and their numbers are growing swiftly as smartphone penetration increases in those countries. Many Indian cellphone makers, for that reason, have Facebook already installed on their home pages.

But Facebook makes little money by advertising to those international users. Facebook made a little more than $4 a user in North America and $1.71 in Europe, but barely more than 50 cents in the rest of the world, including large markets like Brazil and India.

Ads are its principal moneymaker, and Facebook is under intense pressure to show Wall Street that it can make more money, and fast. Its stock market value is still far below its initial public offering price, and many analysts blame the company’s belated push into mobile devices.