Today, Facebook recently announced exactly what their plans for their "new home" on Android actually meant. Speculations of what that actually meant went from just being an interface overlay to being an all-out Facebook device similar to the HTC Status. As it turns out it's a little bit of both.

Facebook Home is what the new interface is called, and it’s set to launch on April 12 using the HTC First as the "official" device. The device will sell for $99.99 with a two-year contract or $449.99 without. Facebook Home will also be available on other devices like the Samsung Galaxy S III and Galaxy S 4, Galaxy Note II, and HTC One and One X starting on April 12 as well; it seems that Facebook is branching out from making what I thought would be just a solitary designated “Facebook Phone” and rolling out with more options on some of the most popular phones on the market.

So what does the HTC First have that's special to consumers if Facebook Home is being offered on a multitude of great devices already? Mostly, I believe the phone is there to serve as a mid-range Android device for those who are interested in using Facebook Home but don't necessarily need a powerhouse like the Samsung Galaxy Note II or the HTC One. The HTC First's $99.99 price point is around the price of any other mid-range Android device.

The HTC First has a 4.3-inch 720p Super LCD display. The 4.3-inch screen makes the HTC First the phone with the one of the smallest displays with the option of running Facebook Home, a move that I believe is smart because I think the HTC First is catered more towards first-time smartphone users who may not be interested in a huge device. Under the hood you have a 1.4 GHz dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor, which isn't the fastest but certainly not the slowest. The rear-facing camera has a 5-megapixel camera and the front sports a 1.6-megapixel camera. The device comes with 1GB of RAM and runs on a 2,000 mAh battery. Facebook Home comes pre-installed and will run on top of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.

In my opinion, the specs are good for the price. People who are heavy into Facebook and looking for a decent mid-range Android device will probably take interest in this device. Also, not only are the specs decent, but I actually really dig the design of the device.

I've seen some already say that they're reminded of an iPhone 3G or 3GS, and I agree to an extent - but to be fair just about every phone released now-a-days looks like a device that's already been released previously. Other than the rounded corners and button placement, I can't say that it looks all that similar. The device is offered in four colors (black, white, pale blue, and red) which gives people who are tired of the standard black and white choices something to consider. I don't know what it is about the device that I like so much, but when I first saw it I thought, "Wow, that device is really pretty." I'm trying to think of a word to describe it… soft maybe? I don't know, but the whole design just looks attractive to me.

As positive as I'm trying to stay about the HTC First, there's still the huge piece of the missing puzzle - the potential consumers and just how interested people are in an entirely Facebook dominated Android device.  I would consider myself a relatively active Facebook mobile user – I usually check it throughout the day to see what my friends are up to. But the thing about that is that I’m able to do that on my own time; I don’t have to check Facebook if I don’t want to. With Facebook Home your friends and their pictures are right there on your home screen for everybody to see all the time. I don’t know about you guys but sometimes my friends post pictures that I would rather not take up the entirety of my home screen unexpectedly, thank you very much. But there are also cool features like Chat Heads which seems to take messaging to a whole new level, so there are some redeeming qualities about Facebook Home that I like.

I think if this was ever going to be a huge thing that Facebook probably missed its chance – not that they didn’t try before, but the HTC Status just wasn’t cutting it at the time with other competitive smartphones that were hitting the market at the exact same time. But there’s nothing wrong with options, and just because I don’t think Facebook Home will ever become anything huge doesn’t mean the option can’t still be there for the people who would enjoy the constant connection to their friends.

Facebook has done better than I thought they would in creating a new way of browsing Facebook on your phone, and I do like how they’ve included other devices in the lineup instead of just limiting themselves to one mid-range device. While I would suggest veteran smartphone users to use another device instead of the HTC First (like the HTC One or Note II) to use Facebook Home, I can see where the HTC First has its place in the lineup as well and would encourage first time or entry-level smartphone users to check out the HTC First and see if it could be the "first" on your list of smartphones you'd like to take home.

Readers, what do you think of the HTC First and Facebook Home? Do you think you’ll ever give it a try, or does it not really interest you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Images via Mashable

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Products mentioned in this Article

eBay prices for the HTC First Black

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31 Reactions to this post

"Do you think the HTC First makes a good "first" device for those just beginning to use smartphones?"

Please limit your reaction to 140 characters or use comments for a longer reply :)
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Dale Junior Battery issue was about htc. BB z10 is a small mah battery. With that slow processor, I don't see battery being an issue. Won't be great but decent at best.
Dave Bourque Huh lol... blackberry phones would not drain faster than note 2 or iphone 5... their screen sizes do not drain that much battery... Q10 will have a very good battery life.
Kadeem Tyrell Robley Not really any different from any other phone I mean only good if you're a a crazy Facebook user and even then, the app itself is decent
Haldi Kuniqi You can easily change the launcher and you will have android
Richard Humphries I don't think so first of all HTC in my opinion has complicated things in the past with Sense that they had to promise their customers they wouldn't go overboard anymore. I like their blinkfeed feature only the new One that Aaron's been talking about why couldn't facebook do something like that? I won't lie I am interested to see the Facebook home though and how it takes to people especially non-techies.
Kristopher Davis HTC puts out high quality devices. That being said I'd never own this. I dont sit on fb all day to need an integrated phone. I'm sure this phone is well built and quality, but the only thing replacing my Evo Lte in my pocket is the HTC One on April 19th!!
Shad Appanah The Desire was my first ever droid and my second HTC (after the Touch HD) and it was amazing introduction into Google's ecosystem. Since then I've had a Sensation and I just got my One last week.
Anthony V Cannata I think this is an epic fail
Michal Polak Nope. I'd recommend a Nokia Lumia to start with. Or an iPhone if you're nor afraid of the hefty price tag. An Android phone would only be recommendable to tech savvy geeks, and the facebooky HTC First to… no one else is left, sorry. :-)
Kyle Cordiano I was kinda bummed about that myself too, but I'd rather have Key Lime Pie first on my phone then have the home feature.
George Millhouse too bad it wasnt one of the announced phones that are getting it at launch
Anthony Tat no... if they're just now getting a smart phone, they probably arent facebook-active enough to want a phone dominated by it
Luis Robles Figueroa What happen if that person doesn't have a Facebook account.
Morten Helm Larsen Sure, if they use Facebook, a lot. If not, it's just a waste.
Dale Junior @kyle its not coming to nexus 4. Read the article on PhoneArena.
Kyle Cordiano Nice phone and the "home" looks pretty cool. Looking forward when it comes to the Nexus 4.
Jesse Robert Bochek Not a chance. Now Nokia, that's good beginner hardware.
Dale Junior Htc= facebook. Not android. How many people do you think will buy the phone?
Dale Junior Old blackberry. Displays do look nice but drain battery more then any other displays on the market. Build quality? Not so sure. For an hour per device.. I wasn't happy with the drop test vs the iphone 5. Dev support is on every device. Over all I wouldn't want an HTC device. I love being able to use my phone without the battery dying in 6 hours. My note 2 lasts over 24 hours. The one may be a surprise but we wont know until the 16th
CeeGii Borels GOD NO! this will make people stupid and think that Smartphones are only for Facebook and wasting time not APPs that people use in everyday life, this will make non-techies go iPhone than Android when they get the idea that Android = Facebook
Marlon Milligan Yes... Seems somewhat interesting.
William Plotner Good Joke. The displays, build quality and dev support is amazing.
Dave Bourque @dale same level as blackberry of present? Lol no...
Rico Suave Honestly though, who doesn't use a smartphone nowadays. I mean sure, there are a ton, but they're not hard to operate at all. Everyone's got an iPod touch or something equivalent to it. I think most companies overlook that part and advertise only because it's "simple to use for a beginner". It's simple to use for anyone.
Curtis M. Cook No... IMO it's not a really user friendly UI. Too many things hidden behind a glorified launcher.
Matt Peters Reminds me of webOS. This is a good thing, of course.
Dale Junior Every HTC device I ever had.. I returned within the 15 day retrun period. HTC is on the same level as BlackBerry. Beats audio is the only good thing about HTC phones.
Jp Garmay not really -_- facebook just ruined the "androidness" of htc first.

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