Android phone users that don’t want the full Facebook Home experience but are still intrigued by Facebook Messenger’s Chat Heads are in luck: A Friday update to the Messenger app includes the new feature. Chat Heads, introduced during last week’s Facebook Home event, provide persistent pop-up bubbles for incoming chats and messages.
This new function works on all Android phones running Android 2.2 and later, meaning a huge percentage. That legacy support is a smart move by Facebook because the full Facebook Home app will only run on Android 4.1 or better. Initially, Facebook Home will only install on a half-dozen handsets, with more to follow. Of course, the launcher comes pre-installed on the new HTC First phone, which hits AT&T stores Friday.
While I do use Facebook, I’ve never used Facebook Messenger, but did install it on my Galaxy Note 2 this morning. A few test messages with my wife showed the key feature of the update: her Facebook icon — a Chat Head (or chat feet in her case) — appearing atop all screens whenever she sent me a message. Provided you’re only chatting with one or two folks, I like the feature. I could also see it become obtrusive with heavy usage or with a number of simultaneous chats.
Still, Chat Heads are well done and easy to dismiss by dragging down to the bottom of the display. Android users, particularly those that have older phones or don’t want the full Facebook Home experience, will likely appreciate the updated client.