Facebook's not-a-phone gets not-a-commercial

Facebook, like Microsoft before it, chose to pitch their new Home interface as people-centric. That's in contrast to the app-centric approach of Apple's iOS Springboard, and other platforms before it dating back to Palm and Newton. To emphasize the difference, and in hopes of selling it to the masses, Facebook has released a commercial of sorts. And... I'm not really sure what vibe they were going for. It seems to land somewhere between the original Palm Pre lady and Google's give-us-all-your-kids-stuff on the creepy scale.

The Facebook not-a-phone is targeted at people for whom Facebook is the primary purpose of the internet. If you're one of those people, chances are you're already okay with Facebook getting all up in your information in exchange for socially sorted communications and connections, I don't know how this commercial helps make you feel good about giving them that level of trust. If you're scared of Facebook and don't want their tentacles anywhere near your life or loved ones, I don't know how this commercial helps move you from that opinion.

In the demo, as in the ad, we see people swiping between between beautiful photographs of gorgeous moments. A quick look at my -- admittedly neglected -- timeline shows a bunch of meme pics and drunken mobile shots I'd sooner never see again. That creates a disconnect for me. It makes the demo and commercial seem filled not with friends but with fake, stock people. It makes it feel unreal.

I like a lot of the design work their team put in, and like I said before the event, I think the idea of Facebook face-hugging Android and injecting it with their xenomorph DNA is tactically smart, but even the best of experiences can suffer from the worst of intentions.

The idea of all these social and search giants giving me the services equivalent a lobster dinner, and then expecting me to put out because of it, is still a deal breaker. I'm still happy to pay for my dinner at this point.

Sadly, there's no unlike button.

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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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Reader comments

Facebook's not-a-phone gets not-a-commercial


I know a lot of girls who live on facebook on their iPhones , i wonder will this tempt them to ditch ios for android , i think it looks ok, but too in your face plus i hate anything thats a drain on my battery

But Facebook's Android is a very different beast than Android from Google -- and that's the whole point.

Saying that people who switch to this from an iPhone are "ditching iOS for Android" is not much more useful than saying they're ditching XNU for Linux. It may technically be true but people are not thinking about it at that level.

Honestly looks like a commercial for an app... Like Umi said in his article, I can't see this being a deciding factor for a meaningful number of consumers.

It is an app. That can be installed or uninstalled on several android phones.

But there also is a phone coming out with the app pre-installed

Much ado about nothing special IMO. The more interesting part was that HTC is coming out with a pure android device that you can disable the facebook garbage. No direct updates but it will have LTE.

This has to be one of the worst commercials ever.
There was nothing that drew me to Facebook. To me, he was looking at pictures in an app.
Nothing funny, cute, appealing. Seriously..that was bad. They should have just said "wifi in the airplane, during all domestic flights" and id have thought it was an airline commercial. So vague..

This commercial is pointless and useless. For tech geeks. For others it shows them the phone and the idea. I personally hate the idea of Facebook Home but I love the design of the HTC First, also I hate the name of the phone. I think it's too little too late for Facebook.

The naming is strange. So much for the One branding. I guess they didn't learn after all. I'd at least went for HTC Facebook.

Um, it's a phone....for Facebook diehards. That's the idea, pretty simple IMO. Or did you mean you don't get the "appeal" of it??? Bc the answer to that is also (to quote my brilliant self) "it's a phone....for Facebook diehards".

I do understand the logic. It was a sarcastic comment and I meant, it personally does not appeal to me whatsoever and therefore find the idea of having it quite silly.

"In the demo, as in the ad, we see people swiping between between beautiful photographs of gorgeous moments. A quick look at my, admittedly neglected timeline shows a bunch of meme pics and drunken mobile shots I'd sooner never see again."
Bingo. No one has feeds that look this good. Then everyone at work gets to see your immature friends dumb pictures.

As much stuff as Facebook already has I would really like to see this attempt at a cell phone fail miserably. Stick to the software and leave the hardware out of it Facebook. iOS4Life! <word>

I use Facebook, though not as much as I used to. Even if I owned an Android phone, I would be thoroughly avoiding Facebook Home.

Ugh. Are people's own lives that boring that they have to live through others? This is beyond creepy. I use Facebook from time to time, so I'm not saying it's not interesting catching up to what others have been doing, but this is insane. It seems invasive.

C'mon guys... for the poepl who think this wont sway people into changing their phones for an android... you guys should realize that people post every thing they do every minute on facebook ie just went to the bathroom, and people click like like no one's buisness. Ya know, I'm actually wonderig if all these negative comments are because Facebook has no plans to release this for iOS.... Oh and just so people like PassOutPete know... Facebook Home IS software... not hardware. They are sticking to it.

I agree with most of the previous comments. Although I do use FaceBook, I have to draw the line somewhere. FaceBook on mobile-always on? FB doesn't need to know my every move. Most Android phones don't have great battery life (at least my friends' Android phones do not) and I suspect that a constant FaceBook UI would drain that phone even faster. Call me old fashioned, but I like the freedom going to an app instead of having FaceBook as the first thing I see on my phone.

oh... THAT'S compelling (not!). are we supposed to relate to that guy? his friends? the lovely aesthetic of his life(style)? sure wish i was THAT connected... oh, wait... i am... but without it being in my face. rating: fail.

ok, not everybody is on a unlimited data plan and not everyone got friends that take pics with a $5000.00 SLR camera that is constantly putting beautyful pics on your wall. this is a big NO NO.

wait! I can start a business selling subscriptions to picture galleries just for Facebook Home! this is awesome!