Facebook Home on HTC First

Yesterday, Facebook announced that it was taking over your phone. The company unveiled a set of apps called “Facebook Home” for Android smartphones that will transform your device into a social hub of Facebook photos, status updates, and notifications.

So no, Home will not run on your iPhone or Windows Phone.

Facebook Home will function on top of your existing Android OS, integrating Facebook services across your device, including a system-wide chat feature that can function in any app, giving users instant Facebook Messenger and SMS access.

A New “Home”

The most noticeable Home feature reveals the meaning behind its name. Home takes the typical Android home screen, made up of widgets and app icons, and turns it into a slideshow stream of content. This “Cover Feed” is a full screen Facebook experience that is there every time you turn your phone on (begging a question about offline functionality and data usage).

But despite the lingering questions, Cover Feed appears to be a very clean and immersive alternative to a standard Android home screen. Provided you have friends who exclusively post beautiful photos, that is.

Availability

On April 12, U.S. owners of a small set of HTC and Samsung smartphones will be the first given an opportunity to download Facebook Home from Google Play. In fact, Facebook has partnered with HTC to create a phone preloaded with Home, the first Facebook-branded smartphone since the 2011 doomed-at-launch HTC Status.

Proudly dubbed the “HTC First,” the $99 contract device is disappointingly an AT&T exclusive and features underwhelming hardware that includes a low 5MP camera, which is surprisingly weak for a phone with a home screen built around photos.

Here’s the list of phones compatible at launch:

  • HTC One X
  • HTC One X+
  • Samsung Galaxy SIII
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II

Facebook has said HTC’s One and Samsung’s Galaxy SIV will be compatible upon release.