So far, Facebook’s new Home app for Android devices is experiencing mixed success. On the one hand, it’s racked up nearly a million downloads, and Home users spend 25 percent more time on Facebook. On the other hand, sales of the HTC First that features Facebook Home are so slow that the device now costs only 99 cents.
Ars Technica’s Florence Ion reported, “It’s been a month since Facebook Home launched to the Android masses. Though it’s been met with mixed reviews—the app currently holds a two-star rating in the Google Play store—Facebook is still pushing updates, some of which are specifically tailored to those negative comments on the app’s reviews page. To coincide with the update to the Facebook Home app on Android, Facebook held a whiteboard session at its campus today. Vice President of Mobile Engineering Cory Ondrejka and Director of Product Adam Mosseri addressed burgeoning concerns surrounding the social-centric application, in addition to detailing several new features planned for a future update.”
TechCrunch’s Josh Constine noted,”[Ondrejka] explained that Home is nearing 1 million downloads, and users’ favorite features are Cover Feed and Chat Heads. Those who’ve download Home spend 25% more time on Facebook as a whole. That stat alone could mean Home is a success, and has a lot of potential to benefit Facebook in mobile. Home also increases the number of daily comments and Likes someone leaves on the news feed by 25% too. Meanwhile, Ondrejka said that Chat Heads increases participation, or the raw percentage of people who use Facebook Chat, by 7%, and it increases messages sent by 10%.”
CNET’s Donna Tam added, “Facebook VP of Engineering Cory Ondrejka said the company is planning on several improvements to the product in the coming weeks, but today’s update will have bug fixes. Also, for any Android devices that don’t support Home, Facebook won’t block users who want to transfer Home — in a process called sideloading — from supported devices. More than 10,000 people were using this method to get Home on unsupported devices shortly after Home launched, Facebook said.”
But Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff observed, “This is not a good sign. Barely a month into the first ‘Facebook Phone’s’ life, the Facebook Home-sporting HTC First price has been slashed from $99.99 with a two year contract to just 99 cents with the same AT&T two-year agreement. AT&T’s own web site makes the situation look, if possible, worse, by displaying the original HTC First price, $350.99 and subtracting $350. That’s a 99.72% discount. While this is great news for anyone who wants an attractive, workman-like 4G phone with Facebook Home built in at a cut-rate price, it does not bode well for this first HTC/Facebook collaboration and future Facebook Phones.”