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Facebook Home Reviews Arrive

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the because-you-need-another-way-to-waste-time dept.

Cellphones 70

Last week Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook Home, a bit of software that aims to transform a smartphone's homescreen into a Facebook feed. Now, its release date has arrived, as has the earliest device to house Home: the HTC First. Reviews for phone and software have begun to appear, too. The Verge calls the device itself "a mid-range phone, through-and-through." Its hardware is capable but not impressive, and it's slow enough to be noticed, but not to annoy. What interested them the most was that by turning off Facebook Home, you get an operating system that's very close to an unpolluted, stock Android 4.1.2. Ars generally agrees, pointing out its solid feel, the trade-off of a less-readable but more-holdable 4.3" screen compared to the trend toward 4.8" displays, and an awkwardly placed micro-USB port. As for the Facebook Home Software: "Home takes status updates out of the Facebook app and slaps them right on your homescreen. Instead of little boxes scrolling vertically, however, each update from your News Feed becomes a full-screen photo with small bits of text at the top," says the Verge, adding that having Facebook updates located between you and whatever you picked up your phone to do can be awfully distracting. Ars says, "What we've seen is an application focused solely on making the Facebook experience the hub for all of your social correspondence, but that can be extremely limiting for those who use a number of other social networks." Both publications praise 'Chat Heads,' Facebook's way of surfacing messages without having to dig through a messaging app.

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Finally! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43410945)

Saves me tons of clicks to see meemaw's and peepaw's cat pictures and I don't have to click to notice that one of my Chinese 'friends' is on the crapper again.

Re:Finally! (5, Funny)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#43411015)

If it will keep me up to date on the latest urban legends, Barak Obama conspiracy theories, and uneducated ramblings of all my dumbass high school buddies, how could I *not* buy one?!?

Re:Finally! (5, Insightful)

Dr. Tom (23206) | about a year ago | (#43411157)

I especially like how half of the review is about the user experience when Home is turned off.

Re:Finally! (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#43411995)

Seems par for the course: anytime I try to get any information about a cell phone (specifically the last time I got a new phone and this time when I was wondering what the deal was), I'm astonished at how much shit there is out there. Google "HTC first." There are about 20 reviews of it in the last day or so, all of which seem to be the same thing. Is there really a demand for that many reviews of any mobile phone, let alone one that sounds like it's pretty average? I mean, I skimmed only one of three pages of the ars technica review, and aside from fucking facebook pictures showing up when you turn it on, nothing stands out.

Same gripe with how all malls seem to be at least 50% cell phone retail. That's way too much, given that they're basically all the same phones.

This bubble is ridiculous.

Re:Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43411391)

Know what saves even more clicks AND brain cells? Don't use "social" media sites like Facebook or Twitter or any of the others that don't have a real purpose.

Really, those kinds of sites are the places I'd expect to see little school kids on, gossiping about Justin Bieber, raw cookie dough and the latest (lamest) trends in Japanimation clothing.

App? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43410953)

I keep hearing about Facebook Home like it is a physical entity and like it is some complex software suite. The reality is that this is a smart phone app. BFD! Why does Facebook's smart phone app deserve so much press?

Re:App? (4, Insightful)

bsane (148894) | about a year ago | (#43411011)

Because they're paying for it?

Re:App? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43411137)

Because they're paying for it?

That's a very interesting comment ... how much are they paying to get onto these phones? Since the 'FB Home app' can be turned "off", is it OK to remove it? Does the phone contract (at least here in the US) have a clause prohibiting the removal? And what does the app do (as far as selling you out to FB) when it's been turned "off"?

Re:App? (1)

bsane (148894) | about a year ago | (#43411341)

Context: I replied to this:

'Why does Facebook's smart phone app deserve so much press?'

with:

'Because they're paying for it'

Re:App? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43411969)

I think you were asked "how much is FB paying to get their Home app on each phone?" instead of "how much is FB paying for all this press?".

Context: obvious to the rest of us

Re:App? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43412175)

You are fucking illiterate. Go read the original post again and then smack yourself in the head when you see that the ONLY question being asked was "Why does Facebook's smart phone app deserve so much press?" At no point was the question of "how much is FB paying to get their Home app on each phone?" ever asked or even intimated.

You should have stayed in school, son.

Re:App? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43412959)

Perhaps you should have stayed in school, son. From the post that bsane replied to:

how much are they paying to get onto these phones?

Clearly you have nothing better to do than bitch about misreading something. You're exactly who Facebook wants using their Home crapp.

Re:App? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43413671)

Original post titled "App?" not "Re:App?". Only question asked, "Why does Facebook's smart phone app deserve so much press?" First reply, bsane says "Because they're paying for it?" - referring to paying for the press about the phone/app Second reply misunderstands and goes on some rant about paying for the app to get on the phone, and the consequences. Third reply bsane clarifies the question to which he was answering.. 'paying for press', not 'paying to get the app on the phone' (which, is probably true, but not the issue". Then AC comes in and decides to be a retard, then we're here.

Re:App? (1)

DrXym (126579) | about a year ago | (#43411383)

The question is, how many people would buy this phone just to turn the app off? Unless the phone is subsidized it's just another phone in a crowded market, with nothing distinctive except for the heaping dollop of crapware courtesy of Facebook. If you don't want Facebook so bad that it's on constantly and in your face, just buy another phone.

Re:App? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43411507)

It has one redeeming quality: it runs stock Android (when you disable the Home launcher). It's basically a Nexus without instant new Android versions, and with LTE.

Re:App? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43411117)

The Axis companies (Facebook, Oracle, Microsoft and Apple) pay Slashdot's owners considerable sums of money for these marketing opportunities. Burson Marsteller is the agency that stage-manages it.

Re:App? (1)

technomom (444378) | about a year ago | (#43413423)

There are still people in this world who think Siri is magic. That is who is phone is geared toward.

My review of Facebook OS: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43410973)

"Why?"

Home screen (5, Insightful)

symes (835608) | about a year ago | (#43410975)

I cannot think of anyone who is so dominated by Facebook that they would want it on their home screen. My experience is that text messaging is the dominant use and that does not need a Facebook account.

Re:Home screen (0)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year ago | (#43410991)

The thing is, even if they do want it on their home screen there are these things called "gadgets."

This is obviously for someone who wants their life dominated by Facebook...

Re:Home screen (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43411067)

Hi fuckwit,

They're called Widgets, not gadgets.

-Your mom

Re:Home screen (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43411209)

Thank you!

Slashdot needs more pedantic assholes like you!

Keep up the good work!

Re:Home screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43412105)

Too much of a pussy to post logged in I see.

Re:Home screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43411379)

The asshole count on slashdot is REALLY high today.

Re:Home screen (0, Offtopic)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | about a year ago | (#43411437)

Mom is having her period, don't mind her.

-Your dad

Re:Home screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43411775)

You'll get my Amiga Intuition from my cold, dead hands!

Re:Home screen (2, Insightful)

fatgraham (307614) | about a year ago | (#43411035)

A lot of people I know use facebook messaging as their primary messaging. (phone & browser)

Don't forget text's aren't the only way to send messages... whatsapp, imessage, google chat, email... They all have plus points (often to utilitise wifi, or if you're in a different country texting is too expensive)

Heck, most of my phone's usage is probably on facebook, if this was on IOS I'd probably use it.

Re:Home screen (1)

fatgraham (307614) | about a year ago | (#43411071)

(He said without reading the reviews...)

Re: Home screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43411753)

Dude this is slashdot... 4chan is where you gen-y flipboard hipsters ate supposed to hang out, not here!

Sent by my nokia 3310

Re:Home screen (5, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#43411061)

It probably makes perfect sense if your entire life is lived on the Facebook campus and all you hear all day is the echo chamber of cheerleading about how vital Facebook is. It also makes perfect sense when you've had an IPO and now have to throw anything and everything at the wall to show your shareholders that you're doing SOMETHING to make their overinflated stock purchases worthwhile.

Re:Home screen (1)

csumpi (2258986) | about a year ago | (#43411101)

My mother in law, because 70 is the new 17.

Forgetting teens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43413355)

Aren't you?

Re:Home screen (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#43415463)

But can't you just use a normal app on a phone to do the same thing? Even if you never do anything but Facebook you could get the phone you want first and then put facebook app on that and be done with it.

Facebook would be a lot more valuable as a service (3, Interesting)

mozumder (178398) | about a year ago | (#43410977)

rather than a media company.

Right now no one trusts them because they're based on advertising.

They would have to change their business model, from advertising-based media to some sort of paid service for people that need it to gain user trust. Facebook Home is a start. They could also pull an Apple and actually be a hardware company, with revenues derived from hardware sales.

Facebook just can't compete in the media space. They have a billion viewers, but they ONLY make $4-5 billion a year. For comparison, Conde Nast makes $4-5 billion on far, far fewer viewers, because they can get people to pay much higher rates for their ads, which are seen as valuable. People actually buy magazines for ads.

Re:Facebook would be a lot more valuable as a serv (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43411203)

I hate to break this to you, but if FB charged everyone for their service they would still sell your information to anyone and everyone because more money is more money.

Right now they'd face a huge backlash from the FB faithful if they started to charge for basic service (they already want $$$ to get your posts to all your friends, or to let you send messages to Señor Zuckerberg or celebrities). Losing a major chunk of their "product" would adversely affect their revenue stream enough to derail them. Had they started charging a low fee (say, $10 a year) early in their history then most FB users wouldn't think twice about it (though they would have significantly less users).

The words "Facebook" and "trustworthy" can never be used together in a positive way (except for "I'm positive Facebook isn't trustworthy").

Re:Facebook would be a lot more valuable as a serv (1)

mozumder (178398) | about a year ago | (#43412781)

I hate to break this to you, but if FB charged everyone for their service they would still sell your information to anyone and everyone because more money is more money.

Not if "more money" ends up being "less money".

You don't see Apple selling customer data, even though they easily could, because no one would buy their products ever again.

Facebook really needs a better business model than advertising. There is potential to make a great product there, but it's currently being ruined by the requirements of selling advertising.

All I can say is (3, Informative)

P-niiice (1703362) | about a year ago | (#43410979)

ugh....no thanks.

Re:All I can say is (3, Informative)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about a year ago | (#43411181)

Let me add to this: No, thanks. I already have *email* and *telephone*, which provide enough of a "social hub".

Re:All I can say is (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | about a year ago | (#43413255)

Then why are you posting a comment on what amounts to a social news site, Slashdot? Or maybe "email" and "telephone" aren't quite enough and you actually do use more :)

Re:All I can say is (1)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | about a year ago | (#43417633)

I love that this is modded 'Informative'--like we really needed to know that email and telephone are the best way to get ahold of 'aaaaaaargh!'

But this also marks you as OLD. Email is not the primary way to get ahold of younger people today. Messaging apps and SMS (though that's trailing off) are what's being used. Just search for 'teenagers email' on google. The first 5 or 6 stories are just about how teenagers don't use email at all.

For myself (I'm in my mid-30s, now) I hardly ever use the phone. Talking to people? Gah. I prefer texts or iMessage or even WhatsApp. I do a lot more communicating via Twitter and Facebook than email and phone.

So, yeah, I guess the modding is right and your post WAS informative: it informs us that you're old and out of touch. ;)

(I say that tongue in cheek; there's nothing wrong with the way you do things per se, but nobody's gonna make money selling stuff to you, so this isn't being sold to you.)

Re:All I can say is (1)

swillden (191260) | about a year ago | (#43414133)

ugh....no thanks.

I don't know... it sounds like this might be a good way to get a phone with stock Android. That has value.

"those who use a number of other social networks" (5, Insightful)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about a year ago | (#43411013)

What we've seen is an application focused solely on making the Facebook experience the hub for all of your social correspondence, but that can be extremely limiting for those who use a number of other social networks.

Of course, in facebook's eyes, there's a simple solution for that: don't use the other social networks.

IF they decide to do away with the regular facebook app, imagine how many people would basically be turning their phone into a 'facebook phone' (because they've 'got to' have facebook, and the mobile site is laughable even without the "but it's not an app :("-factor), at the expense of other social networks.. such as Google+.. and that on what is largely considered to be Google's platform.

facebook chat is already chewing away at WhatsApp... now all facebook needs is forced short messages in a(n optionally) separate stream and who even needs twitter anymore?

Facebook is for GAYS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43411029)

All the former slashdot gay crowd (including Rob Malda) went there. More butt-bang for the buck.

Nokia should make an Android phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43411093)

They could make a stock Android phone and put their own choice of services on it, and their own features. No need to keep flailing with Microsoft.

And if this Facebook home is a killer feature, why not bundle it? It will run on stock Android it seems, without using the Google services.

Re:Nokia should make an Android phone (1)

tgd (2822) | about a year ago | (#43411113)

They could make a stock Android phone and put their own choice of services on it, and their own features. No need to keep flailing with Microsoft.

And if this Facebook home is a killer feature, why not bundle it? It will run on stock Android it seems, without using the Google services.

Except Nokia is doing better than most Android manufacturers, and WP8 already has this level of Facebook integration... and integration with other social networks.

So, that'd be a pretty bad move for Nokia from a business standpoint, and for their users... who already have an experience superior to Facebook Home.

4th place behind Huawei (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43411349)

"Except Nokia is doing better than most Android manufacturers"

They're still selling lots of feature phones, but the smartphones business is dying, Huawei took 3rd place in Smartphones (behind Samsung and Apple). Huawei FFS! They were *nowhere* a few years ago! Now they've overtaken Nokia, all in the space of a few years under Elop.

http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2335616

"Huawei Reached No. 3 Spot in Worldwide Smartphone Sales Ranking"
"In the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple and Samsung together raised their worldwide smartphone market share to 52 percent from 46.4 percent in the third quarter of 2012. Samsung ended the year in the No. 1 position, in both worldwide smartphone sales and overall mobile phone sales. "

"and WP8 already has this level of Facebook integration... and integration with other social networks."
IMHO, at some point reality has to set in, they've falled from 1st to 2nd to 3rd to 4th slot in the Smartphone market, Elop has been reduced to chasing discount featurephones because their WP strategy has been such a disaster. You can say it has great FB integration, and I'm sure they're marketing as such, but the sales aren't there and they keep falling further behind the Android crowd. Get a grip Nokia!

Not 4th place, 2.8% market share, 9th or 10th (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43411737)

Not 4th place, they've released the 2012 figures, their market share is 3% and that puts them at 9th or 10th place.

Re:Nokia should make an Android phone (2)

Xest (935314) | about a year ago | (#43412091)

"Except Nokia is doing better than most Android manufacturers"

By what metric? I'm not sure with a $4bn+ loss last year that they're really doing better than anyone, few companies in few industries can claim that kind of massive loss, they really have entered "Most failed company in the world" territory.

About the only metric by which they can determine "success" is total phone shipments, but seeing as the vast majority of those are feature phones or dumb phones to places like Africa that have insanely low margins as to be unprofitable I'm not sure what value that metric serves.

Even HTC and Blackberry which are often deemed to be struggling made roughly $1.2bn profit each last year.

So no, it wouldn't be a bad move for Nokia, the current status quo for them is disastrous and given that they made such a brutal loss last year. They turned a profit in the final quarter, but nearly all of that came from their networking equipment arm (selling deep packet inspection equipment to oppressive regimes mostly). Their current strategy is a complete failure of mind blowing proportions, there have been few tech failures in history as disastrous to a company as the current path they're pursuing.

Had they instead used their talent in hardware design to build Android handsets, it'd almost certainly be the case that right now they'd be sat up their alongside Apple and Samsung, not down the bottom way beneath Samsung, Apple, Sony, Blackberry, ZTE, Huawei, HTC, Motorola, and pretty much anyone else in the mobile phone market. People say companies like Nokia can't differentiate themselves in the Android market - obviously that's bollocks given that that's exactly what Samsung did. Nokia could have too, it still could if it wasn't just a defacto branch of Microsoft thanks to Elop.

gps tracking / ad revenue (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43411103)

and im certian theres no gps tracking with 'locally owned businesses' injecting ads as you walk by right?

Finally, and endless stream of someecards! (1)

hsmith (818216) | about a year ago | (#43411189)

Thank you Facebook, I cannot wait!

Why Facebook home is good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43411219)

It allows me to send out constant live updates to your phone when I'm about to fuck your mom's anus.

Re:Why Facebook home is good (-1, Offtopic)

fredrated (639554) | about a year ago | (#43411265)

Excellent! Say hi to AIDS for me!

Look beyond Home (5, Informative)

Chance Phelps (2880963) | about a year ago | (#43411321)

Decent SoC, enough RAM for most, 720p display (only 4.3" across!) and the fact that Home can be ripped off to reveal a perfectly functioning stock Jelly Bean: isn't this the ideal mid-range device? If you're not the kind who upgrades from a Samsung GS3 to a GS4 because of the "OMG four extra cores!!!", this phone + a tablet (iPad/Google Nexus) should keep you happy.

Re:Look beyond Home (2)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about a year ago | (#43411489)

You'll probably find it funny, but I still prefer a "dumbphone" to do things like call someone, and a desktop computer for everything else.

PS: The only feature that would be useful to me in a smartphone would be able to use google maps on the street, but the cost / benefit ratio is too bad on my country (mobile internet - 3G/4G/EDGE/LTE/etc - is a luxury item here).

Re:Look beyond Home (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43412283)

Call someone? What is this, the 20th century? Nobody calls anyone anymore, except for self-important businessmen and your mom.

Re:Look beyond Home (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | about a year ago | (#43413325)

Is difficult to correctly translate a sentence from Brazilian portuguese to English. "Call someone" is, or should be translated as "to establish voice communication between two people," case the meaning has not been made clear.

P.S: If you have understood and are only joking, yes, still exists people using voice communications instead of this facebook garbage.

Re:Look beyond Home (1)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about a year ago | (#43414371)

Your English is just fine. The phrase "call someone" means exactly what you think. He was definitely joking, implying that no one makes voice calls anymore.

Re:Look beyond Home (1)

Guppy (12314) | about a year ago | (#43412355)

PS: The only feature that would be useful to me in a smartphone would be able to use google maps on the street, but the cost / benefit ratio is too bad on my country (mobile internet - 3G/4G/EDGE/LTE/etc - is a luxury item here).

There are some offline mapping applications for Android, just download the maps on WiFi and use the phone with Data turned off: http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Android [openstreetmap.org]
There are also apps out there to help enforce a data-off policy on your phone, to prevent expensive accidental downloads. Basically, you use your Smartphone like a tablet with Wi-Fi (with the side benefit of having voice calls over cellular).

Maybe we need to stop calling these things phones. (5, Insightful)

tekrat (242117) | about a year ago | (#43411449)

If the primary purpose of your "device" is NOT to make phone calls, then... it's something else. It's a handheld digital multipurpose device with cellular capability.

Re:Maybe we need to stop calling these things phon (1)

keytoe (91531) | about a year ago | (#43413471)

I've been calling mine a hand computer. Rolls off the tongue a bit better than 'handheld digital multipurpose device'.

I'm always slightly startled when I get a call on my hand computer...

Moo (0)

Korruptionen (2647747) | about a year ago | (#43411463)

Imagine you're a cow. Here's a new bell... we call it the "Cowbell Home." There you go... now back out to pasture with you, you good little consumer you. *daw* Isn't life easier??

Disagree (3, Informative)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about a year ago | (#43411469)

With UI, slow enough to be noticed is annoying...

Facebook = New AOL (5, Interesting)

sinij (911942) | about a year ago | (#43411471)

Facebook = New AOL.

CDs are in the mail.

Re:Facebook = New AOL (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#43415493)

Good, my disposable drink coaster supplies have been running low.

Social sites...and "social" sites (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43411725)

OMG somebody should do this for other sites, too! It's so obvious, now that I've heard of it.

Social Device (2)

Muse011 (1826134) | about a year ago | (#43411773)

I'm glad my phone can finally be the social device it deserves to be!

This weirdness opens the door (0)

Cajun Hell (725246) | about a year ago | (#43411873)

Now it's time for Coca Cola to release a Coke Phone that shows you exciting recipes on its home screen. Ooooh, Jack 'n' Coke? Gotta try that!

Maybe Ford will release a phone, whose home screen shows you your current fuel remaining as miles, and tells you which recurring maintenance is next needed. And whenever you're driving, it locks itself for our safety.

Wanna see my pets.com cat-owner's phone? If you really love your cat, surely you have one of these. It makes sure that you don't forget to always have enough cat toys around.

Maybe Amazon will release a phone that can read ebooks that were purchased on Ama-- oh wait.

Some of these ideas may seem stupid, but they're fundamentally no stupider than the product in TFA. Take some arbitrary specialized service or brand, and sell a phone based on using it. Thanks, Facebook, for getting it into everyone's heads, that now anyone can sell a phone.

Is your business selling a phone yet? Why not?

Re:This weirdness opens the door (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43412309)

Introducing the new Slashdot Phone!

Get hourly updates featuring
-Vague laws misinterpreted by engineers to be threats to privacy/civil liberties
-The latest release of every obscure Linux distro and its shortcomings compared to 10 other distros
-Factually spurious articles about the death of the IT industry.
-Philisophical flame wars about the validity of alternative energy/electric cars
-Mental masturbation regarding drones/macs/climate change
-Windows 8 trolling

Facebook should subsidize this... (1)

technomom (444378) | about a year ago | (#43413485)

I have no intention of buying this phone, but if Facebook really wants to make a dent, they'd go back to their university roots and give away these phones on college campuses with a sponsor (e.g. Pepsi). College students are poor and love a free anything. The phone itself is pretty capable hardware and probably 90% of the people you give it to will keep the Home launcher around, so Facebook can make up for their subsidy with advertising $. I wonder if they'll do something like this. To me, I can't see any other way for this to succeed.

Well, duh. (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#43413965)

Ars says, "What we've seen is an application focused solely on making the Facebook experience the hub for all of your social correspondence, but that can be extremely limiting for those who use a number of other social networks."

 
Um... what exactly did the reviewer expect? That a specialized Facebook phone would somehow magically also be a G+ phone too? That's like walking into a Burger King and complaining that they're limiting your experience because they don't serve Arby's roast beef.... The whole point of the phone/app seems to have gone right over the reviewers head - it's aimed are core and heavy Facebook users, not at the technorati.
 
If it were available on iOS, there's times I'd be sorely tempted to use it sometimes.

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