I am reluctantly writing this post. But since Facebook is, well, kind of a big deal, it’s news I simply can’t pass up. That being said, the HTC First isn’t Facebook’s first phone. But perhaps it will be the company’s first successful smartphone, and hence the name.
The First was announced in tandem with Facebook’s new Home launcher. Home isn’t exactly a revolutionary approach to skinning an Android handset, and probably can be described just as that, a skin. Unlock the First and you’ll immediately be presented with a host of Facebook associated apps, along with a messaging system that integrates into the phone – something that is said to be more analogous to that of texting on your Android (please tell me this won’t become the standard amongst tweens and teens?).
Spec wise, the First falls some where in the middle. The Super LCD display measures 4.3-inches and sports a resolution of 1280×720. Included are the three capacitive Android buttons. The processor is a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor clocked at 1.4GHz, which is paired with a somewhat meager 1GB of RAM. Surprisingly the battery has a 2,000mAh capacity, which should promise more than a day of use. The camera is a mere 5-megapixels on the rear, but at least it sports an f/2.0, 28mm lens, though that won’t make up for its low pixel count. Lastly, the First will support AT&T’s 4G LTE network, which is more than I can say about my Nexus 4, which runs Android 4.2, an iteration over the HTC First (it runs Android 4.1).
The HTC First will ship April 12th (in red, light blue, black or white), and will cost you $99.99 with a 2-year contract. It won’t be the only phone to receive Facebook’s Home integration, but it will be the only one to offer as deep of an integration.
Facebook Home is built around your friends and puts them at the center of your phone:
Cover feed: A constant, fresh stream of photos and updates from your newsfeed, cover feed is always present when you wake up your phone. It lets you stay up-to-date on your friends’ latest activities in real-time, all the time. You can swipe through to see more photos and updates, double tap to “like” a post and comment right from cover feed. To learn more about cover feed, check out this video.
Notifications: Notifications from apps and friends appear right on your home screen. It’s easier to see when you have a missed call, calendar reminder or new message. Open a notification with a double tap or clear them away to see your Cover Feed. To learn more about notifications, check out this video.
Chat Heads: The mobile messenger lets you jump in and out of conversations while you do other things, like watch a video and browse the web. Reply right from chat heads, or move them around if you’re not ready to respond. Plus you can send and receive texts and Facebook messages from the same spot. To learn more about chat heads, check out this video.
App Launcher: See your favorite apps and post right to Facebook from the same spot. You choose what’s on your app launcher—press and hold an app then drag it anywhere.
Instagram: HTC First is the only phone that comes with Instagram pre-loaded.