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

by on April 5, 2013 · 68 comments

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 on this entry are closed.

Frank Cern April 5, 2013 at 8:00 am

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.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 12, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Hi Frank, Yes it will be interesting to see how many people jump at the chance to have a Facebook phone or Facebook Home on their existing phones. Time will tell whether this is a big hit or not.
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Khaja Moin April 5, 2013 at 8:03 am

Looks great with all awesome interface.
But I don`t think anyone would like to handle two mobiles. After all we`ve iPhone, Android etc… Which provides FB app.
Anyway excellent if it can be added to out smartphones.

~@Khajamoin1
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 5, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Hi Khaja, Good point. Yes, Facebook Home can be added to the four Android phones mentioned in the article. I agree with you, if you want these features, adding them to your existing Facebook phone is an excellent option.
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Harleena Singh
Twitter:
April 5, 2013 at 8:46 am

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. :-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 5, 2013 at 8:17 pm

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!
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Riley Harrison April 5, 2013 at 9:46 am

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
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 5, 2013 at 8:22 pm

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.
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Michael April 5, 2013 at 1:06 pm

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!

Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 5, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Hi Michael, Sorry your Facebook app keeps crashing. I haven’t had that problem with my Facebook app. I expect Facebook will continue to develop its Facebook app for those who don’t get Facebook home, either on the Facebook phone or on their Android phone.
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Adrienne
Twitter:
April 5, 2013 at 1:37 pm

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
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 5, 2013 at 8:30 pm

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.
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Adrienne
Twitter:
April 5, 2013 at 8:52 pm

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.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 14, 2013 at 4:18 pm

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.
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Hajra
Twitter:
April 5, 2013 at 3:06 pm

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.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 5, 2013 at 8:36 pm

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!
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Tim Bonner April 5, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Hi Carolyn

Interesting concept. I like Facebook but I don’t like it that much :-) !

Will people ever talk to each other face to face any more if they have this phone I wonder?
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 5, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Hi Tim, Good point, though I guess that could be said of any phone, right? Will people be more or less connected because of this phone? Time will tell…
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Arielle April 5, 2013 at 8:33 pm

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?

Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 5, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Hi Arielle, Yes, I can see that Facebook Home could potentially be a huge distraction. It’s like having Facebook be the Hone Screen on your computer. You may have the best intentions of getting work done but those plans fly right out the window when you start reading Facebook updates!
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Nick April 5, 2013 at 10:20 pm

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.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 8, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Hi Nick, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Facebook Home does not come with those phones but you can install Facebook Home on those phones. I imagine the process will go smoothly but since the feature hasn’t yet been launched, no one knows for sure.
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Bill Dorman
Twitter:
April 6, 2013 at 7:01 am

Yawn; for some it might be the next big thing, but I’m content w/ my iPhone. I’m pretty connected as it is… :-) .
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 7, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Hi Bill, Great point. Perhaps you should launch the Bill Dorman phone to help the rest of us stay connected as you do? I’d stand in line for that phone! :-bd
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kulhead April 6, 2013 at 9:15 am

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

Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 8, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Hi kulhead, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Yes, it would be great for Facebook to offer even more features but perhaps they have plans to do so in the future. If these features aren’t enough to get you to switch, then you can wait and see if Facebook adds new features that are appealing to you.
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Asif Khan April 6, 2013 at 11:14 am

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.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 8, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Hi Asif, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Excellent point. There really isn’t a need to get the Facebook phone when you can download Facebook Home to another Android phone. But if you want the ease of Facebook Home being pre-installed, then you may want the Facebook phone.
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Erin A. Hill April 6, 2013 at 11:28 am

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.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 8, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Hi Erin, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Yes, the Facebook phone is great for Facebook fans such as you. Good news! The Facebook Messenger app was updated to allow free phone calls to your Facebook friends. You can read more about it from CNet.
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Rauf Arshad April 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm

it would be a big hit to the market of phones : because its user interface phone

Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 8, 2013 at 11:55 am

Hi Rauf, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Yes, I wonder whether the user interface of this phone will be enough to make it a hit. If not, people can still get Facebook Home on certain Android phones.
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Rashmi Sinha April 6, 2013 at 11:24 pm

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.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 8, 2013 at 11:35 am

Hi Rashmi, Excellent point. As Google Plus and Facebook sites compete, it’s surprising that the two companies are aligning this way. But I don’t think Apple would produce a Facebook phone and Apple and Android are the two biggest players in the mobile phone market today.
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Thomas
Twitter:
April 7, 2013 at 9:59 am

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 ;-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm

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!
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Rishabh Misra April 8, 2013 at 1:27 am

Great post well i am FB lover so i like to chat in FB but iphone is a new way and i appreciate this one.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 8, 2013 at 11:30 am

Hi Rishabh, Unfortunately, Facebook has no plans to bring Facebook Home to the iPhone, but they also said they had no plans to bring out a Facebook phone, so time will tell!
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Josh April 8, 2013 at 1:42 pm

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.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 9, 2013 at 8:16 am

Hi Josh, No worries, your Note 2 won’t automatically update to Facebook Home. You’ll have to actively download Facebook Home if you want it on your phone.

You have a good point, Josh. Those Chat Heads could take over your phone if you have friends who enthusiastically embrace Facebook Home. Best to take a wait and see attitude if you’re not enthusiastic about these new capabilities.
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Ruth Zive April 8, 2013 at 3:42 pm

This feels like putting all of your eggs in one basket. And it scares me that anyone loves Facebook THAT much that they would want their entire smartphone experience to be built around it. That said, the price point is good – it will be interesting to see how it plays in the market.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 9, 2013 at 8:07 pm

Hi Ruth, Yes, some people are more into Facebook than they are mobile apps. Now they don’t have to choose, they can be on both at once.

The price of the phone is reasonable, but many people will want to spring for a better phone and then load Facebook Home onto it.
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Jens P. Berget
Twitter:
April 9, 2013 at 12:06 am

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 :-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 9, 2013 at 8:12 pm

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.
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Praveen Rajarao ( April 9, 2013 at 9:56 am

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.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 10, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Hi Praveen, Yes, I think Facebook did it right by offering the Facebook Home feature both pre-installed on the Facebook phone and as an add-on for other Android phones. I really liked the HTC One, but I haven’t tried the HTC First yet.
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Radu April 9, 2013 at 11:34 am

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 :))

Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 9, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Hi Radu, Connecting in real life? Do people still do that? How very historic of them! ;-)
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Christian April 10, 2013 at 11:11 am

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.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 10, 2013 at 2:28 pm

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!
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Kyron April 11, 2013 at 2:03 am

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.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 12, 2013 at 3:10 pm

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.
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Vhinz April 12, 2013 at 2:47 am

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.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 12, 2013 at 2:55 pm

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.
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Marlik April 12, 2013 at 10:47 pm

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.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 13, 2013 at 10:27 am

Hi Marlik, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Yes, now that Facebook Phone and Home have been launched you can read the reviews on Google Play to see if this is the phone for you. You als should consider if you want Facebook features that you can’t get from the Facebook app.
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Mayura
Twitter:
April 13, 2013 at 1:30 am

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…
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 13, 2013 at 10:24 am

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.
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Mark April 13, 2013 at 4:19 am

This does sound great, but as a die hard iPhone fan it isn’t enough to tempt me over to Android.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 13, 2013 at 10:38 am

Hi Mark, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Wise choice. If you are a bigger fan of the iPhone than of Facebook, then the Facebook app should be perfectly adequate for you.
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raj April 15, 2013 at 4:41 am

facebook home is great phone, as per my opinion it will get huge success ahead.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 15, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Hi Raj, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Wow, it sounds as if you’re a big fan of the Facebook Phone. Are you planning to get one or to add Facebook Home to your Android phone?
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Alex April 17, 2013 at 4:20 am

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.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 20, 2013 at 11:00 am

Hi Alex, Yes, if you’re a heavy Facebook user, then Chat Heads could be fun. But if you’re not, they could prove to be quite annoying. Best for you to stay away from Facebook home since you’re not a big fan.
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margauxallen April 19, 2013 at 3:48 am

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.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 19, 2013 at 3:17 pm

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!
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prabhat April 23, 2013 at 12:16 am

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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Carolyn Nicander Mohr April 23, 2013 at 7:09 am

Hi Prabhat, Good point. If you already have a compatible Android phone but want the full Facebook experience, get Facebook Home to see if you really want that much Facebook on your phone!
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