Facebook’s First Phone – Is It the Phone for You?

Yesterday Facebook proudly announced the launch of its first phone, aptly named HTC First (not to be confused with the HTC One). What makes the Facebook phone different from other smartphones is the prominence of Facebook on the phone. If you’re a heavy Facebook user, you may crave this phone. If you don’t have a Facebook account, well then move along, there’s nothing for you to see here.

The Facebook phone runs on the Android operating system, furthering cementing the Frenemy relationship that Google and Facebook enjoy/endure.

Unlike previous phones, the Facebook phone won’t be focused on apps, surfing the Net or even making phone calls. Instead, this phone is all about your friends, introducing Facebook Home which will highlight your interactions with your Facebook friends.

Here’s a video showing the Facebook phone in action:

Facebook Home

The Facebook phone will be the first phone to have Facebook Home built in to it. Facebook Home gives a different look to Android and adds features not previously available. Facebook Home puts Facebook features front and center on your phone, with Cover Feeds, giving instant access to Facebook from your home screen, and Chat Heads, giving you the ability to chat with your Facebook friends within any app.

For those who want the Facebook phone experience without buying a new phone, Facebook will be offering the Facebook Home experience for certain Android phones, including the HTC One, HTC One X, Galaxy S3, and Galaxy Note 2.  Sorry, iPhone fans, Facebook isn’t showing you much love.

You’ll be able to download Facebook Home to these phones beginning April 12. You can learn more about Facebook Home from the Facebook Home website.

Cover Feed

Your Facebook phone’s home screen will display your Facebook friends’ posts and photos with a feature called Cover Feed, similar to your News Feed that you see on your computer. You can tap on any update to get more information.

Cover Feed lets you swipe through photos and posts to see them, just as you would scroll through your News Feed. You can double tap any post or photo to Like it. You can adjust the image quality of Cover Feed in Settings to preserve your battery life.

Chat Heads

Facebook phone introduces a new feature called Chat Heads that lets you chat with friends using Facebook Chat and text messages from within any app. Chat Heads allows you to carry on a conversation within any app without having to switch back and forth between apps.

You can drag Chat Head icons around the screen to put them where you want them and drag them to the bottom of the screen when you’re done chatting.

If you don’t want to be interrupted by Chat Heads, you can turn off the feature in Settings.

Specs

In case you’re interested in what this phone has to offer as a smartphone, information was provided about the phone itself. The HTC First comes with a 4.3″ screen and is available in four colors. The phone comes with a 5 MP rear camera and a 1.6 MP front camera. The phone has 16 MB of internal storage and has 4G/LTE connectivity. The stated battery life is up to 14.3 hours of talk time with 18.2 days of standby time.

The Facebook phone will be launched on April 12 for $99.99 on AT&T with a two-year contract. You can find out more information from the AT&T website.

Your Thoughts

What do you think of the Facebook phone? Are you excited for the launch? Will you be standing in line to get one? Vote in today’s Wonder of Tech poll:

Bottom Line

If you’re a Facebook fan, then you may be very excited about yesterday’s announcement about the new Facebook phone and Facebook Home. If you’re trying to quit Facebook, then this news may be your worst nightmare come true.

Are you excited about the new Facebook phone? Will you be loading Facebook Home onto your existing Android phone? Will you be trading in your iPhone to get a Facebook phone? Let us know in the Comments section below!

Comments

  1. Frank Cern says

    I think it’s a good move by Facebook. Personally, I’m not a Facebook fanatic but I know many people who are and would jump at the chance to use this new software.
    Frank Cern recently published this awesome post..The Last of Us Red Band TrailerMy Profile

  2. says

    Hi Carolyn,

    Oh yes…I did read the news in the papers yesterday, and just knew that you would fill us up with all the details pretty soon, and here you are!

    My kids were thrilled more than anything else, because they have all their friend’s on FB, though we really don’t allow that to be online that much. But yes, this might be a phone for them more than for us. I guess I’m more of the old fashioned kinds as you know, and like to be on my Laptop to interact with whomsoever. I guess we should wait a while to see how the phone goes or read more reviews and then head for buying one.

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Have a nice day, and a lovely weekend too. :)
    Harleena Singh recently published this awesome post..Ways of Dealing with the Loss of a Loved OneMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Harllena, Yes, this was exciting news yesterday. After denying for years that a Facebook phone was in the works, the rumors finally came true yesterday.

      You make a great point. For most people, the Facebook app will be sufficient. For many, accessing Facebook on the computer is perfectly fine. But if you’re a passionate Facebook fan, then the added capabilities of Facebook phone will be very exciting.

      My daughter said she had a tough enough time staying away from Facebook, and that she didn’t need this kind of lure. But after the launch, she may change her mind?

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Harleena!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Fun Apps to Make You Look Fabulous or Hideous!My Profile

  3. says

    I guess my attitude is more negative than excited. It’s feel like big brother is not only watching me it’s trying to micro manage my life. If Facebook’s the shepherd, that makes us all sheep. This process of controlling and managing begins to leech out all the randomness and spontaneity that makes life adventurous and exciting.

    Riley
    Riley Harrison recently published this awesome post..WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO LEARN: REFLECTION, IMITATION OR EXPERIENCE?My Profile

    • says

      Hi Riley, Well put. You’re right, this phone could have cutting edge specs, ahead of any other phone ever launched. But if you don’t like Facebook, there is no point in getting this phone.

      If you feel as you do about Facebook, then this is most definitely not the phone for you.

      I truly appreciate you sharing your eloquent thoughts here with us today, Riley.
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Take a College Tour with Tech!My Profile

  4. Michael says

    This explains a great deal. It seems that the latest Facebook program for iPhone crashes a lot, so I suspect that FB has been placing all of its effort on this phone, and for the life of me I cannot see a market for a FB centric phone, but that just me!

  5. says

    Guess I’m glad I have an iPhone now Carolyn. Oh my goodness. I don’t even check Facebook on my phone now. Okay, I haven’t had it that long and I will probably eventually when I’m away from the house more like on a trip but I have no intention of “chatting” with friends like that so I guess I’m good.

    Guess that means Facebook isn’t going anywhere any time soon. ;-)

    ~Adrienne
    Adrienne recently published this awesome post..Why Blogging Communities Are Big In 2013My Profile

    • says

      Hi Adrienne, Excellent point. You could be a big Facebook fan, but if you don’t use Facebook Chat, then Chat Heads won’t be a compelling feature for you.

      Have you logged into Facebook on your new iPhone yet? You may appreciate the convenience of mobile Facebook to some extent. For most, the capabilities of the Facebook app will be perfectly adequate for their needs.
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..The Mobile Tech Revolution after Five Years – Is Unfriending the Latest Trend?My Profile

      • says

        I have not logged into Facebook or Twitter yet Carolyn. Not sure how I’m going to remember my passwords since I have my awesome program on my computer to remember them for me and I make mine hard to remember. That’s going to be the part I’m going to have to figure out.
        Adrienne recently published this awesome post..Why Blogging Communities Are Big In 2013My Profile

        • says

          Hi Adrienne, Sorry, I thought I answered this! You should only have to log in once to Twitter and Facebook on your iPhone and then you will automatically be logged in when you open the app. The first time you log into these apps, be sitting in front of your computer so you can have your passwords handy. Then when you’re on the go, you can check on these sites without having to log in again.
          Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Swappa – Satisfy Your Mobile CravingsMy Profile

  6. Hajra says

    So its like a phone dedicated for Facebook. Kind of weird I feel – I mean we can have FB on our phones – the app is pretty good. I wouldn’t get it. I don’t find it interesting to inform everybody 24 X 7 of what I am up to. But I can see the appeal.

    • says

      Hi Hajra, You’re right, we may not feel the need to update our status frequently. But Facebook Home can still be useful for those who want to know what their friends are doing…

      Many people will probably feel as you do, that the Facebook app is enough is satiate their Facebook cravings. Thanks for sharing your opinions with us here, Hajra!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Your Top March Madness Apps!My Profile

  7. Arielle says

    It’s not that I don’t love Facebook enough. It’s that if I get this phone it will increase my already growing addiction to Facebook. How will I get anything else done if the first thing I see when I open my phone is see what my best friend is buying at the mall or that someone is constantly chatting me?

  8. says

    It’s great to know that Facebook Home, app is installed in HTC One, HTC One X, Galaxy S3, and Galaxy Note 2.
    I love some feature that are included like Cover Feed, Chat and Notification.
    It’s great to know that it will work for Android and Facebook Messenger.

  9. says

    Nice Phone but dont think this is the right time to launch such phones since Android and iPhone has dominated Mobile Market, Not unless it comes with super Features that make it stand out, thanks for sharing such an informative post

  10. Asif Khan says

    HTC First looks good in terms of specs and Facebook integration. But with launch of Facebook Home there is no need to get this one. A big no from me.

  11. says

    As a die heart fan and user of Facebook, I would love to buy this little beast. Believe me this phone can change the whole style of communication. If Facebook launched free voice calls in phone over internet connection then see what will happened to communication industry.
    Erin A. Hill recently published this awesome post..Vimeo Coupon CodesMy Profile

  12. Rashmi Sinha says

    now facebook has become an integrated part of someone’s life. There is a competition between google and fb, on who can most penetrate in someones day-to-day life. Phone, tv, cloud, blog, advertisement, and many more. They are capturing all stuffs one by one.

  13. says

    Hi Carolyn
    I am not that big a fan of Facebook, but I guess if you is a big fan of Facebook this phone might be awesome. There are many other features on I modern smartphone that is a lot more important for me than Facebook. E.g. camera quality, battery time, Bluetooth transfer and stuff like that.
    Maybe I am just too old to get a Facebook Phone ;-)
    Thomas recently published this awesome post..My Google Analytics Stats Report for Q1 2013My Profile

    • says

      Hi Thomas, Yes, I believe the Facebook phone and even the Facebook Home app are for those who are truly devoted Facebook fan. You can have the specs of a top notch phone and still have the Facebook functionality with Facebook home on a top of the line Android phone such as the Note 2 or the S3, but there really isn’t a point in doing that if you aren’t devoted to Facebook.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your insights, Thomas!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Gmail Undo Send – Saving You from Your MistakesMy Profile

  14. says

    Hi Carolyn,

    I am taking a wait and see approach. I am not real excited about giving FB that much real estate and control on my phone and hope that auto updating won’t automatically move me from the current app to this one.
    Josh recently published this awesome post..The Fryer In Fort WorthMy Profile

  15. says

    It’s definitively an interesting phone, and I’d love to give it a try. But, like you already know Carolyn, I’m a huge fan of the iPhone and would probably upgrade to the iPhone 5 before buying the Facebook Phone :)
    Jens P. Berget recently published this awesome post..Podcasting for ConsultantsMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Jens, If I were to upgrade my phone, I honestly don’t know whether I would go for the iPhone 5 or the Note 2. But I have no plans to upgrade, even though I am eligible next month. But either way, I don’t have a burning desire to get a Facebook phone because I’m not that big of a Facebook fan.

      If Facebook Home does come to the iPhone, then it will be interesting to see if it’s more popular on iPhone or on Android.
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Mystery Math Town – Take the Mystery out of Math!My Profile

  16. says

    OK, I fall into the 50% category who voted that they are not really into FB that much :-)

    But it does look promising for heavy FB users, the Home feature is a cool new one to be added, and allowing users to chat from any app with their FB friends. That is really neat.

    But again, I have already tried HTC and am not a big fan, whatever maybe the feature.
    Praveen Rajarao ( recently published this awesome post..Amazon Extends X-Ray Feature to TVMy Profile

  17. Radu says

    I’m not that into Facebook that i would buy the phone who will keep me connected every single moment. Connection does not mean Facebook. I like to connect in the park with real people, it’s much fun and healthy. Plus it has benefits :))

  18. says

    The specs are good and the phone looks nice and also have a decent price. I wonder if Facebook home can be disabled. After all we are talking about Android which is itself very customisable.

    I would like to have a facebook app and all that but I don’t like the idea of facebook defining all my smartphone experience.

    • says

      Hi Christian, I’m sure someone will figure out how to disable the Facebook Home feature from the Facebook phone, but if you don’t want the Facebook Home feature, then there really isn’t a reason to get the Facebook phone.

      You’re right, Facebook really would define the phone. Probably only Facebook devotees will be big fans of the Facebook phone.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, Christian!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Hello Talkwalker Alerts, Farewell Google Alerts! My Profile

  19. Kyron says

    Thanks a lot Carolyn for informing me about the phones launch. I am a big time fan of Facebook, I can’t think of a day without it. The features you mentioned are so good, and I think there will be much more which is not yet disclosed. Once again thanks a lot.
    Kyron recently published this awesome post..Tips for Buying Modern Office FurnitureMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Kyron, I’m glad you enjoyed this article. If you’re a fan of Facebook, then this development is very exciting. Make sure to check out the other Android phones on which you can get Facebook Home to make sure you get not only the features you want, but the phone you want as well.
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Swappa – Satisfy Your Mobile CravingsMy Profile

  20. Vhinz says

    Facebook home is a nice idea but the fact that you need to stay online will drain your battery much faster isn’t? also if you are an office guy, you can get easily distracted imho.
    Vhinz recently published this awesome post..Corsair 240GB Neutron GTX SSDMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Vhinz, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Excellent point, though the Facebook phone itself has a fairly powerful battery. If you load Facebook home onto your existing Android phone, you may see reduced battery life. Until people start using Facebook Home, we won’t know for sure, but I suspect you’re exactly right about the battery life.

      Yes, similar to Windows Live Tiles, Facebook Home gives you real time information about Facebook and when your friends want to chat. I imagine the potential for distraction is quite significant.
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Swappa – Satisfy Your Mobile CravingsMy Profile

  21. Marlik says

    Facebook is the best social networking platform that I have come across so far. It is very interesting to know that they have launched a phone. Some of their features such as cover feeds, chat heads and more are quite exciting ones. Will check out their video of hands on.
    Marlik recently published this awesome post..BlogsMy Profile

  22. says

    Hi Carolyn,

    I like the idea of it and I can see the same concept can be applied for different apps ;)

    I do like Facebook but I do try not to distracted by Facebook though :) So at first look, “Distraction” came into mind, but I know folks will embrace this one. Especially younger generations who would love to stay in touch with friends. My bros already wanna have one ;)

    Facebook was exploring more about mobile platform with Instagram and may be Facebook home would be perfect for Instagram users too, no? Haven’t heard about Instagram features in it though.

    Though I’d like if I can install it on my smartphone rather than going for a HTC first, I’m not using smartphone that much ;) Computer is still my favorite.

    Cheers…
    Mayura recently published this awesome post..Review Marketing Efforts on Your Website with Marketing GraderMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Mayura, Yes, if you want to avoid being distracted by Facebook, then this isn’t the phone for you. Facebook is omnipresent on this phone, no matter which app you have open.

      This is for truly devoted Facebook fans, but if you are a casual Facebook user, the regular Facebook app will serve you well.

      Yes, Instagram is integrated into Facebook Home, allowing you to share pictures instantly from Instagram to your Facebook Timeline.

      You can add Facebook Home to your existing Android phone if you want to. You may want to wait a bit to see what the initial reviews are though.
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Fun Apps to Make You Look Fabulous or Hideous!My Profile

  23. Mark says

    This does sound great, but as a die hard iPhone fan it isn’t enough to tempt me over to Android.

  24. Alex says

    The specs of this phone looks quite descent and I would consider buying it if I were a heavy Facebook user. One feature that kept me interested was the chat heads that allows you to carry out a conversation within any app and without any need to switch back and forth. But I hardly use facebook and hence this would not appeal to me.

  25. margauxallen says

    I’m sorry to offend Mark’s fans but I don’t know what comes up to his mind when he introduced this phone. I know there are million of Facebook fanatics but I don’t think they would really switch or upgrades their phones to something like this.

    • says

      Hi Margaux, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! I will be very curious to see how well this phone will sell. Even if the phone doesn’t sell well, people may add Facebook Home to their existing phones. I want to do a follow up poll in about six months to see how many Wonder of Tech readers are using either the Facebook phone or Facebook Home. For a Facebook fan, these features could be a lot of fun!
      Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently published this awesome post..Web Apps: The My Profile

  26. says

    well i am a great fan of HTC but this HTC First doesn’t impress me because its too much facebook. users will get bored with updates and notifications. also it drains your battery so fast so this is another negative point. there is an application for android called “facebook home”. users should try that app before using HTC first to get the basic idea.
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