Although Facebook Home is available for a handful of phones via the Google Play Store, the HTC First is the first smartphone to ship with this experience preinstalled. Facebook Home is integrated into Android to the extent that it takes over some of the features on the phone, such as the home screen.
As soon as you power on the First, you’ll see the clock for a brief moment before the screen changes to display posts from your Facebook news feed. This feature is known as Cover Feed. With Cover Feed, you can quickly and easily see what your friends are up to, swipe to see additional posts, double tap to like a post, press and hold to zoom out on a picture, and comment on a post directly from the Cover Feed screen. Notifications also appear on the lock screen on top of Cover Feed content.
Facebook Home Cover Feed and App Launcher
By tapping the screen when viewing Cover Feed, your Facebook profile picture will appear. You can then drag your profile picture to access the Facebook Messenger, apps, or your most recently accessed application. With Facebook Messenger, you can send and receive texts and Facebook messages from the same spot.
Thanks to a feature known as Chat Heads, you can keep chatting with friends even when you’re using other apps. This feature places a small picture of your friend near the edge of the screen. You can move the head around and it will snap to the side. To view and send messages, simply tap your friend’s picture. When you’re finished chatting, drag the Chat Head to the bottom to remove it.
Facebook Home Chat Heads
Facebook Home also comes with an App Launcher that provides quick and easy access to apps. By default, the primary App Launcher screen links to Phone, Settings, Maps, Chrome, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Google, Play Store, Camera, and Gallery. You can swipe your finger left to access all apps or right to access an additional App Launcher screen. Above the App Launcher, you’ll notice a Facebook bar that lets you update your status, upload a photo, or check in to a location. You can customize the App Launcher to your liking. When viewing all apps, a More button at the bottom will take you to a traditional Android Home screen.
Without Facebook Home, the HTC First is a pretty standard Android device with five traditional Android home screens. You will find many of the standard Android apps such as Chrome, Google+, Navigation, and Play Store in the all applications list. The HTC First also comes pre-loaded with Instagram.
The HTC First ships with the Android keyboard. If you want additional keyboard options such as Swype, you’ll have to download them.
Google Now and Instagram are included on the HTC First