The Facebook Phone: Is it Worth It?
Ten years and over 1 billion users later, Facebook has become one of the most visited websites in the world. It’s not only a site that connects you to friends and family across the globe, it has become a large part of today’s 21st century culture. So what if there was a way that you could always stay connected…
Rumors of a Facebook phone have been circulating for years. They’ve seemingly conquered everything else (online social games, launching pads for small businesses, connecting users to what they like, etc) so why not try their hand in creating a smartphone that puts the network front and center?
All of those rumors came to a head April 4, when founder Mark Zuckerberg announced that they would not be creating their own device, but rather, they would be developing an app that would allow Facebook to operate as a user interface rather than a simple mobile app.
This would come to be known as “Facebook Home”. So what exactly does it do?
Here’s the Breakdown:
Facebook Home allows a network to operate as a launcher app, replacing your lock screen, home screen and your app menu. In a nutshell, it places Facebook at the center of everything you do on your phone.
Upon turning on your phone, you’ll see your news feed, featuring all status updates, links and pictures as you would on your normal homepage. From there, you can use Facebook just as you normally would. ‘Like’ anything you want, comment, share an image; anything really!
You’ll also receive all of your notifications as you normally would (friend requests, ‘likes,’ comments, etc.), but your normal notifications (texts and phone calls) won’t get lost in the shuffle. They’ll take precedent over your Facebook notifications.
Basically, Facebook Home is an “always-on” version of Facebook that’s available on your phone, which may go over well or poorly depending on your stance (see Sim City 3).
Here are a few advantages:
- Convenient: In 2011 HTC released the “Status,” a phone that featured a Facebook Button on the bottom of its QWERTY keyboard that conveniently allowed for sharing content such as status updates and photos. A nice concept? Yes. The problem? It didn’t sell.
For Facebook Home, think of the Status, with more convenience (you won’t have to repeatedly open an app to access it). Plus, you may not have to buy a new phone (we’ll get to that).
- Only One Way To Go: First editions are essentially prototypes that are functional enough for mass consumption and use. Okay, so there might be a few bugs to work out, but there’s still only one way to go from here (up!).
A Few Disadvantages:
- Only Available On Android: Windows Phones and iPhone users need not apply. This app is only available on Android devices. Why? In 2012, almost 70% of all smartphones sold were running on Android. Plus, this is the only platform that was open to allowing Facebook to develop its own launcher. Which leads to the next problem…
- Only Supported By Certain Devices: Your Android device may not even support it. At the time of its launch, Facebook Home could only be run on the Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy Note II, HTC One X and HTC One X+. As it stands, the HTC First will come preloaded with the app. A sign of things to come? We’ll see.
- Might Drain Your Data (and battery): since it will always be on, there’s a good chance that it could eat up most of your data for the month and drain your battery.
- It’s Early: Out of over 11,000 user reviews on Google Play, Facebook Home is averaging 2.2 out of 5 stars. However, since it’s still early, the jury is still out. Like all great things, it might take a while to compile a definitive review of the app. Stay tuned…
So is this phone for you? For hardcore Facebook users, it might be worth a look. For casual users, maybe not so much. Ultimately, it won’t cost you anything extra to try it out, and if all works out, it could very well lead to an actual Facebook phone. Like we said earlier, the jury is still out.
So what do you think of it? Do you ‘like’ it? Have you downloaded it? Has it changed the way you use Facebook? Let us know in the comments below.
A Few Android Deals to Get You Ready for Facebook Home:
-T-Mobile | 40% Off Internet To Go (ongoing)
-Verizon | 25% Off Samsung Galaxy S III + Free Shipping (exp 6/30/2013)
-Sprint | $100 Off + Free Samsung Galaxy S III After $50 Rebate (exp 5/9/2013)
Hill, Sam. “Is Facebook Home worth getting excited about?” Envirofone Blog. http://blog.envirofone.com/general/is-facebook-home-worth-getting-excited-about April 12, 2013
Facebook Home – Android Apps on Google Play https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.facebook.home
Crook, Jordan. “Facebook Home Hits 500K Downloads In Five Days, Pales In Comparison To Instagram’s Android Shift.” TechCrunch. http://techcrunch.com/2013/04/21/facebook-home-hits-500k-in-five-days-pales-in-comparison-to-instagrams-android-shift/ April 21, 2013
Kumparak, Greg. “Failbook Phone: AT&T Already Looking To Ditch The HTC Status, Says Source” TechCrunch. http://techcrunch.com/2011/08/23/att-discontinuing-htc-status/ August 23, 2011
Burnham, Kristin. “4 Facebook Home Privacy Facts.” CIO.com http://www.cio.com/article/731507/4_Facebook_Home_Privacy_Facts_?page=2&taxonomyId=3004 April 9, 2013