At one time not too long ago, Facebook Home looked to be a great addition to smartphones. Facebook being the biggest social network platform with almost 1 billion users should be a slam dunk without question. How could anyone possibly not want to have immediate, easy access to Facebook at all time? Plus it’s on an Android-based device in the HTC One. People like HTC, people like Facebook, and people like Android. It’s a win-win for everyone. Most of the Google Play Store ratings for Facebook Home should be nothing less than 4-stars, right?
Well, the reviews haven’t been kind to Facebook Home so far and could spell disaster for its stay on Android powered phones. Today, Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg is supposed to discuss Facebook Home during the conference call for the company’s Q1 earnings. Facebook Home is software that allows for users to put Facebook’s signature features on a user’s home and lock screens (hence the name). Very few of Facebook’s members gave Home a shot and most mentioned that it has taken control of their smartphones.
The numbers are pretty dismal for Facebook Home—which is available through the Google Play Store—with an installation base at 500K and 1 million. This is in comparison to almost 1 billion members on Facebook. HTC First comes with the service installed and according to Wall Street firm Sterne Agee, an AT&T store they contacted told them that they hadn’t sold any HTC First phone since last week. Google Play saw the device rated 2.2 stars with the majority give it 1-star. To be exact, only 2,418 rated the software 5-stars, 1,066 gave it 4-stars, 3-stars saw a number of 1,387, 1,981 for 2-stars, and an overwhelming 7,725 for 1-star.
The common complaint for Home is that Cover Feed takes control of the home screen and kills the usefulness of the phone overall. It seems as though the Facebook features hinder core Android functions that make the phone. Showing a silver lining in this cloud of gloom, Sterne Agee mentioned that Home would probably appeal more to the hardcore Facebook users than for smartphone users—especially Android fans—in general.
The go to excuse for Zuckerberg might be that it is very early and that things will pick up Facebook Home. Plus, he might shine light on the fact that it landed 500K in the first 10 days, but this could be done to the novelty appeal of it or the initial view that it could be extremely useful. It could also be viewed as missing the mark on something that should’ve caught on like wildfire.
With all the black marks it has going for it already, it’s unlikely that it could pick up unless there are some drastic changes in functionality. Facebook will also need to make it more appealing to teens who are catching on to more direct, straightforward forms of social networking such as Tumblr.
In short, the HTC First should only appeal to people who use Facebook very often. One could say it makes it a niche product, but only if there wasn’t a large user base for those buyers to come from. While it might not be selling in some stores, the actual concern should be numbers the number of disgruntled users that actually downloaded it to their device and those who reviewed it via the Google Play Store. While it doesn’t compare to the number that downloaded it, this should be an indication of the general opinion on Home especially when counted with other online reviews and opinions elsewhere—even from Facebook users.
Have you used the HTC First or Facebook Home? What were your impressions on it? Did you find your device difficult to use at all? Are users over reacting to the functionality of Facebook Home?