Facebook announces Facebook Home for Android, HTC First for AT&T

Facebook has just finished their new Home on Android event -- see our live blog for the blow-by-blow) and... it pretty much went as expected. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg showed off their new home screen experience for Android, which he described as people-centric vs. app-centric. HTC's Peter Chou introduced the first phone that'll ship with it built-in, the AT&T-bound HTC First. Beyond that, Facebook Home will also be coming to existing Android devices.

And yeah, the HTC First hardware design outline is pretty iPhone-like, which is either conveniently consistent, or depressingly dull, depending on your point of view...

Our Mobile Nations sibling site, Android Central will have continuing coverage throughout the day, so keep it locked there for more.

Meantime, let me know, anything compelling enough about HTC First + Facebook Home to make you consider switching? It's way more than iOS 6's Facebook integration allows, but is that a good thing? Or does the mere idea of Facebook getting all up into your phone jammy make you run screaming from the internet?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Facebook announces Facebook Home for Android, HTC First for AT&T


There are so many people, usually young people that live on FaceBook, that's all they use their phones for, whether it's Android or the iphone. I very rarely even go to the facebook page unless someone has something important to look at. The phone is nothing great to look at or the specs very impressive. I won't buy the phone or download the apps, I don't want my phone to be over run by FaceBook crap. Saying that, there are millions of FaceBook nuts that will love this thing and want that app on their current phones. It's not for me but as I said many FaceBook nuts will flock to this thing, go figure?????

I don't use Facebook often enough in such a way to have any use of Home. It's reminiscent of the long dead T-Mobile MyFaves, updated to modern times with app and phone integration. And the iPhone body style sells, just ask Apple and Samsung, so it's no surprise that Zuckerberg went there with HTC. Horrible name for the phone though, especially with all the HTC One's out there. We'll see how it goes for them.

This is what the "Facebook Phone" should be. That said, if all you're using a smartphone to do is Facebook related, then yes, get one ($99 ain't bad). As an Android home switcher, it would make for a neat UI, but I think it would be "too much" Facebook. I barely like using Facebook as it is, so no, I will not consider switching to this.

Watching the presentation, it seems like they took Windows Phone's People Hub concept and jazzed it up for Android. People Hub does basically the same thing.

I hope there is an opt out and just keep the app and that they commit to continue to update that app's function. To force "home" on people will be a deal breaker. It is too intrusive for those who don't want to live and breath the Facebook "experience". I am glad this is not coming to IOs and I hope Apple will restrict the app's integration.

I wonder if Facebook wanted Apple to do this on iOS, during the negotiations to integrate Facebook into iOS. If so, I can imagine Apple saying "No. Waaaay too fugly."

I must say, I am intrigued by the design of the UI. It looks pretty sharp and "seems" (let's not get ahead of ourselves here) to have all of Facebook's features neatly and smoothly integrated throughout the entire phone. I agree that the specs are not great, which will keep me away from picking one of these up. I would consider myself an average facebook user. I open the app everyday, multiple times a day, but more so to follow friends rather than post what I am up to or thinking. I would openly welcome this to iOS, whether you like it or not, it's all about giving people options and letting them decide what they would prefer.

I agree about the UI being quite interesting, but could not care less about Facebook. If that same model could be applied to text messages, I would be interested in that.

maybe i'm old school, but is anyone feeling this is entirely too intrusive? The only thing i took out of the event was when i picked up my iphone and really appreciated that nothing facebook was showing unless i open the app.

Anyhow, this will obviously appeal to a major mass, and a step further to close the walls and complete a facebook only experience.

I feel the same way. This makes me incredibly nervous. However I'm sure you could be able to disable the facebook at lock screen with root, but this is HTC. They make amazing hardware. It could be an AMAZING phone for a lot of people.

I agree. FaceBook already knows enough about me. This is where I would draw the line, but I could see tons of customers being won over by the cel phone salesman's FaceBook experience pitch.

Yes, and I would guarantee FB is counting on that while HTC is praying for anything at this point. It's a shame HTC will sell more of these HTC First units, instead of that drop dead gorgeous HTC one model.

not a big facebook user but this doesn't seem like a big deal to me. Or at least it doesn't seem special or appealling. i'm kinda meh on it. That said at the moment, i use facebook as little a possible.

Now more than ever it seems silly how phones are stuck with the software they ship with. (Without rooting etc). There's absolutely no reason there needs to be a dedicated phone for this Facebook version of android. Why shouldn't any fb addict with any android phone be able to load this onto their device?

I'm trying to keep facebook to a minimum these days short of just quitting it altogether. That said, this is just more bloatware. I'm sure the unwashed masses will love it.

Yeah, it would make me run screaming from the internet. I don't even let Facebook have access to my contacts and calendars. Why the hell would I want it in my face when i unlock my phone.

No thank you. And if Apple ever does this, I'll be jumping ship to join Derek on webOS.

haha derek's loneliness will soon cease. I couldn't agree more allyson. To be completely honest, I'm sort of shocked more people aren't feeling this, but then again i'm getting older and facebook is apparently getting smarter...

Well good thing we always have choices. Android gives this as an option, but there is no requirement. If Apple did this (which they won't) I am sure it wouldn't be mandatory. The same way that it will be available for download in the Play Store.

I get the why for sure, but the fact that Facebook and Google so desperately want to be so desperately ingrained in our lives seems to get more and more problematic by the day.

And now Facebook has taken to calling ads "content". Yeah....."content".

Constant giving information all the time = drain on battery usage. If this program is running and collecting information it also gonna be draining the battery down. Also don't need facebook to be in my face everyday.

Looks very nice, clean UI. Maybe I'm getting old but I've never heard anyone say that they need to spend MORE time on Facebook. Usually it is people saying that they should really spend LESS time (wasting time) on the site. This isn't going to help them. Sometimes I think that people need to put their damn phones down and talk to the people who are around them sometimes.

Nice presentation by Facebook. Although I notice the only phones they support are the top of the line models from HTC and Samsung (and the new crappy HTC model they announced). I'm guessing Facebook Home must be a bit of a hog and require Android 4.1. Notice there was no mention of app integration (aside from a launcher) or what the impact on battery time is.

Android would be the only platform Facebook can do this on. iOS will not let this app take over and windows phone 8 is all about its home screen and access to all your content that to allow a "face" lift like this would cease to make it a unique OS.

I would never buy a phone dedicated to Facebook usage. I'm actually using it less and less these days and I sure don't want it to be the focal point of my phone. Most of the people I know on FB don't even post what is actually happening in their lives anymore. Mostly its just ads, re-posts of e-cards, and memes. Garbage. Except memes of grumpy cat. Grumpy cat gets a free pass because she's...well...grumpy cat.

This is just so unnecessary. I can understand where Facebook is coming from but is it really that necessary to be wrapped up in someone else's life 110% of the day? What about having time to focus on yourself? If you're addicted to Facebook, then this is for you.

When you create an OS with a sole demographic in mind (one which could be considered "faddish", whether brief or otherwise), you are bound to run into MANY problems; the biggest being adoption rate. I have a few friends and family members who could benefit from a Facebook-aholic Anonynous, and even they would have a hard time dropping their iPhones to pick up the HTC First. Even the ones that have supported Android devices, I feel, won't stay with it for long. It's a very small target Zuckerberg and Co. are aiming for, and even if they hit the bullseye, I think this shot will be VERY short-lived.

I give Facebook kudos for doing what they needed to do - dis-intermediate Android and put Facebook front and center on a mobile device. I'm willing to wager that the back end calls for all of this activity go to the big 'F' and not to the big 'G'. Can't say I blame them it's what their business model requires and we will see where they take this now that they've made this move. And what will be interesting is to see Google's counter move since they covet social and all of the data associated with it that isn't search.

It's not for me. I hate Facebook and will use it extensively as soon as they come up with a business model that allows me to earn revenue for the data I provide to them, but that's a me problem. I trust that there are others who for their own reasons will not allow this to be front and center on their devices.

First, we had to worry about people texting on their phones. Now, all the FB Home users, are going to be checking their alerts on the road.

This is def for FB addicts. I dont use it so I dont care. When will Twitter come out with theirs? lol

Macworld podcast said it best. Everybody hates fb, they just can't leave because everyone's on it.
Lets go new solution!

I don't think everyone hates FB. I know many people who love it. I use it occasionally... but more passively than actively. Such as just scanning the timeline to see what my friends are up to. Maybe making a few snarky comments along the way.

I'm on an iPhone so this announcement won't affect me. But, I like the idea of FB being more smoothly integrated into the OS. For example, the other day a buddy of mine used FB chat to get ahold of me, and it wasn't until well into the conversation that I REALIZED it was FB chat and not texts or iChat. That's how I like it. Just using the device to it's best advantage.

And I don't want my News Feed's pictures on the lockscreen though. Most of them are trite eupherisms stolen from one website or another. I don't need to see those. Yes, I know chocolate is great, but you don't need to find another clever way to say it. Yes, I realize the secret to life is to be happy no matter what. Now #$@% off!

I don't use Facebook much so I'm glad that its not coming to iOS. They are basically shoving it in the customer's face now that so many people have started giving up on Facebook. For those who practically eat and breathe Facebook, HTC first is a dream come true. But for others (like me), I'd say just let it be. May be try it out on another android device just to let it all out of your system once and for all.

Facebook home being a launcher/widgety-type deal, means that it'll never come to iOS, and I'm happy with that.
Integration is good, but that's too much. WebOS did it right with Synergy.

I'm trying to run away from facebook and now they want to be all over my phone? No thanks I'll pass. I hope iOS never gets flooded with that.

doesn't seem like anything great to me. facebook is facebook. i hardly use FB anymore because it's so annoying