Facebook Phone: Everything you need to know

5:21 pm EST, April 4, 2013

As expected, this morning Facebook unveiled a new phone powered by Google’s Android operating system. Stalking your friends has never been so easy.

The Facebook Phone, also known as the HTC First, is the social networking giant’s first branded phone and can be viewed as an attempt by the website to be more present in your everyday life.

The phone is designed to put all of Facebook’s features front and center through an operating system they’re calling Facebook Home. Running on a HTC device, Facebook will no longer just be one of the apps sitting in a folder, but designed to be a major part of the phone’s OS and your daily mobile life.

The phone’s UI (user interface) design comes as a welcome change from the standard built on every other phone, but to some it may feel like an unnecessary view into the lives of Facebook friends that you don’t particularly want to constantly see on your device. Take a look at what we mean.

Cover Feed

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Cover Feed is designed to be the phone’s new home and lock screen. What’s shown on these screens are status and photo updates from your Facebook feed, so that you have instant access to these updates whenever you take out your phone. Instead of opening the FB application, the HTC First is designed to give you all of this information before you even unlock your device.

Your notifications from all of your apps, text messages, etc., can all be found on this screen as well. This UI is designed so that you can swipe away a notification you don’t want to look at right away and tap the ones you want to interact with quickly, which makes it easier for users to pick and choose the applications, friends, and messages they want to respond to first.

Chat Heads


Chat Heads is what they’re calling their messaging platform. When you’re on an app or get a message on your home screen, the profile picture of the friend who messaged you will show up with that usual badge that tells you how many messages they’ve sent.

The cool thing about Chat Heads, despite it’s name, is that your friend’s picture/message notification will pop up on your screen no matter what app you’re in. You’ll then be able to respond to their message then and there without leaving the application you started on, so it’s less disruptive to your workflow.

App Launcher


You can’t have a phone without apps, of course. App Launcher provides you with your favorite apps on the first screen, which you can bookmark through your settings. You can access the other applications by swiping to the left or right, just like any other phone.

Is the Facebook Phone for you?

If you like Facebook a lot and you’re all about the social media aspect of it, then yes. However, if you’re a techie and you like a phone with a removable battery and a camera that’s better than 5 megapixels, this isn’t the right switch for you. This phone is marketed towards the people that just want a better social experience on their phones, not necessarily the people who want the high-tech specs and awesomeness that we’ve gotten used to with all of the other models.

Facebook Home is also available to download.

Don’t like the phone but like the OS? Android users will be able to download Facebook Home on April 12. The application will give you all of these Facebook features and the UI design without having to purchase the phone. However, it will not incorporate any notifications like SMS or Instagram, so think of it as a whole new Facebook application.

iPhone users can expect Home to get on your devices probably never, since Android’s open source development is what makes Home so easy to install and use. Sorry Apple fanboys, looks like we’re stuck with normal Facebook.

Will you get Facebook Home or the HTC First?

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