Facebook unveiled the Facebook Home on Thursday, which is a launcher working on Android home screen. Facebook also announced partnership with several hardware manufacturers for its new Facebook Home program, including Samsung, Huawei, Sony, ZTE, Lenovo and Alcaltel Onetouch. But, at first, it will be launching Facebook Home in collaboration with HTC, aptly named ‘HTC First‘. It will be available in US in AT&T network starting April 12 for $99.
It must be noted, however, that this is not the first time Facebook has partnered with HTC. Back in 2011, HTC launched Salsa and ChaCha phones featuring a Facebook button, which lit up whenever the user visited the Facebook app or site. On pressing this F-button, a recently taken photo or favorite website link will be posted as user’s status update. But, the phones failed miserably. Now, the Facebook and HTC have come together for launching Facebook Home.
Contrary to the rumors, Facebook Home is not an OS, but a skin or a homescreen launcher. It gives users the ability to post a status update or access their Facebook newsfeed right from the phone’s homescreen. Click here for more details about Facebook Home and its features.
Let us see the hardware details of the HTC First:
Network: 2G, 3G, 4G LTE
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi a/b/g/n, NFC
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with dual-core 1.4 GHz CPU
Memory: 16 GB internal
RAM: 1 GB
Battery: 2000 mAh
Display: 4.3-inch screen
Dimensions: 2.56 x 4.96 inches
Primary Camera: 5 MP with LED flash and Full HD (1080 p) video recording
Secondary Camera: 1.6 MP
The phone comes with Android 4.1 (JellyBean) as its OS with Facebook Home on the top of it as homescreen launcher. HTC First will be launched in 4 colors.
1) If you are a Facebook buff, then HTC First will totally suit your taste giving you access to your friends status updates, photos, etc. in a beautiful format on your homescreen. Thus, without even going to the Facebook app, you can have all of Facebook functionality.
2) In comparison to the Facebook Home installed on other Android phones through Play store, you can access all your notifications of messages, e-mails, Facebook chats, etc. from Cover Feed. Facebook Home in devices will show only Facebook notifications in Cover feed as Facebook Home requires deeper integration with OS for notifications from other Android apps.
2) While Facebook has said that they will not show ads at the launch on Cover Feed, but it would definitely be done in the future. Thus, your wonderful experience of using Facebook will be broken by ads once a while.
3) One of the biggest benefits in Android was the ability to use widgets of various apps on your homescreen. But, with Facebook Home, you can’t use any widgets.
Looking at the HTC First from Hardware perspective, then it’s a pretty decent hardware. Its biggest USP is Facebook Home, but it did not seem to add any additional value to buying the phone against any other phone with Android installed. One can download all the Facebook apps from Play store- main Facebook app, Facebook messenger, Poke and Instagram. In my opinion, there is something more needed in the Facebook Home. All of the above features did not seem to be compelling enough for someone to buy HTC First. Also, its launch in Indian is not yet announced, so its price remains a crucial factor in deciding for or against buying the phone.