EE has nabbed the exclusive of the HTC First, the launch device to run Facebook's new integrated mobile experience, Home.
The social network, which boasts more than a billion monthly active users, revealed its first major play in the mobile space since its partnered with HTC for 2011's ChaCha device. Half of Facebook's users access the network using a mobile device and Home has been seen as a way of it finally being able to unlock potential mobile revenue.
Home works like an Android skin, similar to HTC's Sense UI, and Facebook described it as the 'next version' of the social network. While it runs on Android, it effectively cuts Google out of the device as it is Facebook tracking the apps, searches and information accessed by a user. Home ties a user's Facebook information to the homescreen and lockscreen, displaying updates about your friends. Messages from friends pop up over apps and can be answered there and then, or swiped away. Notifications from friends and Facebook apps are also displayed in the same way. If a user wants to access its standard apps, they can swipe up to access a favourite apps screen.
Consumers will be able to download Facebook Home from 12 April and it can be run on the HTC One, One X and One X+, Samsung Galaxy SIII and Samsung Galaxy Note II. It will also work on the Samsung Galaxy S4.The bespoke HTC First device will go on sale in the United States from next Friday (12 April), with a UK release date to follow this summer. The mid-tier Android Jelly Bean device runs a dual-core Qualcomm 1.4GHz processor, 16GB of storage and a 5MP camera. Unlike Home, which only displays Facebook notifications, the HTC First device will display all updates from other Android apps.
Pippa Dunn, chief marketing officer, EE, said: 'We’re proud to have been chosen by Facebook and HTC to be their UK launch partner for the HTC First. In combining our unique superfast network with the latest integrated Facebook experience, customers will constantly be at the centre of conversations with their friends.'
Dan Rose, vice-president of partnerships at Facebook, said: 'With Home enabled out of the box, you’ll be able to get everyone's latest updates and messages right on your home screen.'
Peter Chou, CEO of HTC said: 'Along with our partners and fellow innovators—EE in the UK—we anticipate excitement from customers when the HTC First becomes available, putting a user's friends and family at the centre of their mobile experience.'
Author: Graeme Neill