Facebook Home, I think it’s fair to say, has been a rather yawn of an experience since its launch, our own Tim was at the Facebook event and was so disappointed he ended up not even writing his impressions of it as it was so pointless, so he said, but for the 10% of admitting Facebook obsessed people, who can get it, and honestly is it something you want?
UPDATE: Facebook have rightfully so since cancelled this service
Compatible Smartphones (now atleast)
If you don’t like HTC and Samsung phones, you’re gonna have to miss out on FaceBook home, in fact even HTC and Samsung only have 3 phones each, 2 of which aren’t available everywhere yet. However the 6 phones and the Facebook Phone (if it’s worth calling it that) are listed.
HTC First HTC One HTC One X HTC One X+ Samsung Galaxy NoteII Samsung Galaxy SIII Samsung Galaxy SIV (when the phone is available)
Quite a small number to say the least, add that to the fact Facebook Home is currently only available in the USA.
Installing and Uninstalling Facebook Home
One thing you can’t complain about it the ease of installing Facebook Home, once installing the Facebook Home app from the Play Store, if you launch Facebook (the app) or Facebook Messenger (both need to be initially installed) either will have the heading ‘Finish setup’ showing up in those apps from a compatible device.
Once you’ve clicked finish setup you’ll receive a prompt to ‘Complete action using…’, then select ‘Home’ and select Always, by selecting Just Once will not set Facebook Home as your default launcher which could lead to some mishaps. Then after a few seconds you have a Facebook Phone, woo!
Facebook Home Features
Honestly they aren’t many in fact in short there’s three.
- Chat heads for messaging
- FaceBook Feed in Lock/Home Screen (like a Flipboard of Facebook)
- New Notifications (from Facebook, Instagram, Calls/Texts and some supported apps)
So, let’s look further in to all the trio of main features;
Probably the only in my opinion half decent feature of Facebook Home, in fact our favourite feature of the HTC First is setting stock Android as default and keeping Chat Heads active. With Chat Heads, you can keep messages showing up through “heads” whilst in other apps in probably the most non-interuptive fashion, but also in a way that you don’t completely forgetting you even got that message. Aside from that it’s standard Facebook Messenger UI.
Pro of using this, which also works for SMS text messaging too is as mentioned you will still be able to check out the latest messages without leaving an app at all, for example remain in Chrome with the Chat Head available, you can even move them around for extra convenience or just shove them to the bottom if they are in the way.
Facebook Home uses the entire interface to display your notifications, whether they are chat messages whilst on Home/Lock Screen, or to missed calls, or even notifications from other application can show up here, and with monthly updates from Facebook every month it’s only a matter of time until all applications are supported by this feature.
Like Chat Heads, you can swipe things away if you don’t care about them, or alternatively if you tap and hold on multiple notifications or messages you can swipe them all away and dismiss them all at once, which if anything saves you alot of time.
The most obvious one. If you like using applications like Flipboard or Google Currents, and you’d like that with your Facebook Feed, then you’re in luck, because that’s literally what you’ve got, but with lack of pinch to zoom in photos and the rather over spacial use of text updates, it seems a bit clunky, obviously not their yet, although at the same time we fail to see what can be done to make a difference.
When you finally realise Facebook Home is not that good, you can uninstall it actually as equally as easy as installing … that’s alot of ‘as’. To get started;
Simply go in to Facebook Home settings, which can be done with a menu button (which is present on Samsung Facebook Home devices, or the back button for HTC) whilst in Home, then tap ‘Turn off Facebook Home’
…then once you do that and tap the Home button again, you’ll receive the same prompt you had installing it ‘Complete action using…’ then select your default Android skin, whether that be Touchwiz (Samsung) or Sense (HTC), done.