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Facebook Home Reviews Arrive 70

Last week Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook Home, a bit of software that aims to transform a smartphone's homescreen into a Facebook feed. Now, its release date has arrived, as has the earliest device to house Home: the HTC First. Reviews for phone and software have begun to appear, too. The Verge calls the device itself "a mid-range phone, through-and-through." Its hardware is capable but not impressive, and it's slow enough to be noticed, but not to annoy. What interested them the most was that by turning off Facebook Home, you get an operating system that's very close to an unpolluted, stock Android 4.1.2. Ars generally agrees, pointing out its solid feel, the trade-off of a less-readable but more-holdable 4.3" screen compared to the trend toward 4.8" displays, and an awkwardly placed micro-USB port. As for the Facebook Home Software: "Home takes status updates out of the Facebook app and slaps them right on your homescreen. Instead of little boxes scrolling vertically, however, each update from your News Feed becomes a full-screen photo with small bits of text at the top," says the Verge, adding that having Facebook updates located between you and whatever you picked up your phone to do can be awfully distracting. Ars says, "What we've seen is an application focused solely on making the Facebook experience the hub for all of your social correspondence, but that can be extremely limiting for those who use a number of other social networks." Both publications praise 'Chat Heads,' Facebook's way of surfacing messages without having to dig through a messaging app.
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Facebook Home Reviews Arrive

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  • Finally! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Saves me tons of clicks to see meemaw's and peepaw's cat pictures and I don't have to click to notice that one of my Chinese 'friends' is on the crapper again.

    • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

      by TWiTfan ( 2887093 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @08:32AM (#43411015)
      If it will keep me up to date on the latest urban legends, Barak Obama conspiracy theories, and uneducated ramblings of all my dumbass high school buddies, how could I *not* buy one?!?
      • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dr. Tom ( 23206 ) <> on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @08:53AM (#43411157) Homepage

        I especially like how half of the review is about the user experience when Home is turned off.

        • Seems par for the course: anytime I try to get any information about a cell phone (specifically the last time I got a new phone and this time when I was wondering what the deal was), I'm astonished at how much shit there is out there. Google "HTC first." There are about 20 reviews of it in the last day or so, all of which seem to be the same thing. Is there really a demand for that many reviews of any mobile phone, let alone one that sounds like it's pretty average? I mean, I skimmed only one of three p
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I keep hearing about Facebook Home like it is a physical entity and like it is some complex software suite. The reality is that this is a smart phone app. BFD! Why does Facebook's smart phone app deserve so much press?

    • Re:App? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bsane ( 148894 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @08:30AM (#43411011)

      Because they're paying for it?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Because they're paying for it?

        That's a very interesting comment ... how much are they paying to get onto these phones? Since the 'FB Home app' can be turned "off", is it OK to remove it? Does the phone contract (at least here in the US) have a clause prohibiting the removal? And what does the app do (as far as selling you out to FB) when it's been turned "off"?

        • by bsane ( 148894 )

          Context: I replied to this:

          'Why does Facebook's smart phone app deserve so much press?'


          'Because they're paying for it'

        • by DrXym ( 126579 )
          The question is, how many people would buy this phone just to turn the app off? Unless the phone is subsidized it's just another phone in a crowded market, with nothing distinctive except for the heaping dollop of crapware courtesy of Facebook. If you don't want Facebook so bad that it's on constantly and in your face, just buy another phone.
    • There are still people in this world who think Siri is magic. That is who is phone is geared toward.
  • by Anonymous Coward


  • Home screen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by symes ( 835608 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @08:24AM (#43410975) Journal

    I cannot think of anyone who is so dominated by Facebook that they would want it on their home screen. My experience is that text messaging is the dominant use and that does not need a Facebook account.

    • The thing is, even if they do want it on their home screen there are these things called "gadgets."

      This is obviously for someone who wants their life dominated by Facebook...

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by fatgraham ( 307614 )

      A lot of people I know use facebook messaging as their primary messaging. (phone & browser)

      Don't forget text's aren't the only way to send messages... whatsapp, imessage, google chat, email... They all have plus points (often to utilitise wifi, or if you're in a different country texting is too expensive)

      Heck, most of my phone's usage is probably on facebook, if this was on IOS I'd probably use it.

    • Re:Home screen (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TWiTfan ( 2887093 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @08:38AM (#43411061)
      It probably makes perfect sense if your entire life is lived on the Facebook campus and all you hear all day is the echo chamber of cheerleading about how vital Facebook is. It also makes perfect sense when you've had an IPO and now have to throw anything and everything at the wall to show your shareholders that you're doing SOMETHING to make their overinflated stock purchases worthwhile.
    • by csumpi ( 2258986 )
      My mother in law, because 70 is the new 17.
    • But can't you just use a normal app on a phone to do the same thing? Even if you never do anything but Facebook you could get the phone you want first and then put facebook app on that and be done with it.

  • rather than a media company.

    Right now no one trusts them because they're based on advertising.

    They would have to change their business model, from advertising-based media to some sort of paid service for people that need it to gain user trust. Facebook Home is a start. They could also pull an Apple and actually be a hardware company, with revenues derived from hardware sales.

    Facebook just can't compete in the media space. They have a billion viewers, but they ONLY make $4-5 billion a year. For compariso

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @09:00AM (#43411203)

      I hate to break this to you, but if FB charged everyone for their service they would still sell your information to anyone and everyone because more money is more money.

      Right now they'd face a huge backlash from the FB faithful if they started to charge for basic service (they already want $$$ to get your posts to all your friends, or to let you send messages to Señor Zuckerberg or celebrities). Losing a major chunk of their "product" would adversely affect their revenue stream enough to derail them. Had they started charging a low fee (say, $10 a year) early in their history then most FB users wouldn't think twice about it (though they would have significantly less users).

      The words "Facebook" and "trustworthy" can never be used together in a positive way (except for "I'm positive Facebook isn't trustworthy").

  • All I can say is (Score:4, Informative)

    by P-niiice ( 1703362 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @08:25AM (#43410979) thanks.
    • Re:All I can say is (Score:4, Informative)

      by aaaaaaargh! ( 1150173 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @08:57AM (#43411181)

      Let me add to this: No, thanks. I already have *email* and *telephone*, which provide enough of a "social hub".

      • Then why are you posting a comment on what amounts to a social news site, Slashdot? Or maybe "email" and "telephone" aren't quite enough and you actually do use more :)
      • I love that this is modded 'Informative'--like we really needed to know that email and telephone are the best way to get ahold of 'aaaaaaargh!'

        But this also marks you as OLD. Email is not the primary way to get ahold of younger people today. Messaging apps and SMS (though that's trailing off) are what's being used. Just search for 'teenagers email' on google. The first 5 or 6 stories are just about how teenagers don't use email at all.

        For myself (I'm in my mid-30s, now) I hardly ever use the phone. Talking

    • thanks.

      I don't know... it sounds like this might be a good way to get a phone with stock Android. That has value.

  • by QuasiSteve ( 2042606 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @08:31AM (#43411013)

    What we've seen is an application focused solely on making the Facebook experience the hub for all of your social correspondence, but that can be extremely limiting for those who use a number of other social networks.

    Of course, in facebook's eyes, there's a simple solution for that: don't use the other social networks.

    IF they decide to do away with the regular facebook app, imagine how many people would basically be turning their phone into a 'facebook phone' (because they've 'got to' have facebook, and the mobile site is laughable even without the "but it's not an app :("-factor), at the expense of other social networks.. such as Google+.. and that on what is largely considered to be Google's platform.

    facebook chat is already chewing away at WhatsApp... now all facebook needs is forced short messages in a(n optionally) separate stream and who even needs twitter anymore?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    and im certian theres no gps tracking with 'locally owned businesses' injecting ads as you walk by right?

  • Thank you Facebook, I cannot wait!
  • Look beyond Home (Score:5, Informative)

    by Chance Phelps ( 2880963 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @09:14AM (#43411321)
    Decent SoC, enough RAM for most, 720p display (only 4.3" across!) and the fact that Home can be ripped off to reveal a perfectly functioning stock Jelly Bean: isn't this the ideal mid-range device? If you're not the kind who upgrades from a Samsung GS3 to a GS4 because of the "OMG four extra cores!!!", this phone + a tablet (iPad/Google Nexus) should keep you happy.
    • You'll probably find it funny, but I still prefer a "dumbphone" to do things like call someone, and a desktop computer for everything else.

      PS: The only feature that would be useful to me in a smartphone would be able to use google maps on the street, but the cost / benefit ratio is too bad on my country (mobile internet - 3G/4G/EDGE/LTE/etc - is a luxury item here).
      • by Guppy ( 12314 )

        PS: The only feature that would be useful to me in a smartphone would be able to use google maps on the street, but the cost / benefit ratio is too bad on my country (mobile internet - 3G/4G/EDGE/LTE/etc - is a luxury item here).

        There are some offline mapping applications for Android, just download the maps on WiFi and use the phone with Data turned off: []
        There are also apps out there to help enforce a data-off policy on your phone, to prevent expensive accidental downloads. Basically, you use your Smartphone like a tablet with Wi-Fi (with the side benefit of having voice calls over cellular).

  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @09:31AM (#43411449) Homepage Journal

    If the primary purpose of your "device" is NOT to make phone calls, then... it's something else. It's a handheld digital multipurpose device with cellular capability.

    • by keytoe ( 91531 )

      I've been calling mine a hand computer. Rolls off the tongue a bit better than 'handheld digital multipurpose device'.

      I'm always slightly startled when I get a call on my hand computer...

  • Disagree (Score:4, Informative)

    by O('_')O_Bush ( 1162487 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @09:33AM (#43411469)
    With UI, slow enough to be noticed is annoying...
  • Facebook = New AOL (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sinij ( 911942 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2013 @09:33AM (#43411471)
    Facebook = New AOL.

    CDs are in the mail.
  • OMG somebody should do this for other sites, too! It's so obvious, now that I've heard of it.

  • I'm glad my phone can finally be the social device it deserves to be!
  • Now it's time for Coca Cola to release a Coke Phone that shows you exciting recipes on its home screen. Ooooh, Jack 'n' Coke? Gotta try that!

    Maybe Ford will release a phone, whose home screen shows you your current fuel remaining as miles, and tells you which recurring maintenance is next needed. And whenever you're driving, it locks itself for our safety.

    Wanna see my cat-owner's phone? If you really love your cat, surely you have one of these. It makes sure that you don't forget to always hav

    • by Anonymous Coward

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  • I have no intention of buying this phone, but if Facebook really wants to make a dent, they'd go back to their university roots and give away these phones on college campuses with a sponsor (e.g. Pepsi). College students are poor and love a free anything. The phone itself is pretty capable hardware and probably 90% of the people you give it to will keep the Home launcher around, so Facebook can make up for their subsidy with advertising $. I wonder if they'll do something like this. To me, I can't se
  • Ars says, "What we've seen is an application focused solely on making the Facebook experience the hub for all of your social correspondence, but that can be extremely limiting for those who use a number of other social networks."

    Um... what exactly did the reviewer expect? That a specialized Facebook phone would somehow magically also be a G+ phone too? That's like walking into a Burger King and complaining that they're limiting your experience because they don't serve Arby's roast beef.... The wh

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