Facebook continues Home overhaul, adds support for app folders


Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) continues taking steps to retool its much-maligned Home launcher for Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, adding new folders for organizing applications.

Facebook Home, introduced in early April, is an alternative homescreen that pushes the social media giant's mobile services to the forefront of the Android user interface. Home users may now drag one app onto another to create a folder, Facebook said.

"An improved launcher is the most requested item Facebook has received since the launch of Home, and the team continues to make updates to Home in order to provide consumers with the best experience," a Facebook spokesperson explained in an email to FierceMobileContent. "The team is currently working on widget support that will put Home's launcher on par with stock Android launchers."

Among the roughly 20,700 consumers who've submitted Home reviews to the Google Play storefront, close to half have awarded Home just one star, the digital storefront's lowest rating. Facebook has promised significant improvements directly inspired by consumer comments, and last month it rolled out a favorites tray allowing consumers to customize their Home experience by pinning the other apps and games they use most, a move to assuage criticisms that Home is too rigid and makes it too difficult to access other mobile features and functions.

Facebook has limited Home support to a handful of devices including Samsung's Galaxy S4, Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II, HTC's One, One X and One X+, and Sony's Xperia ZL. Facebook Home is also preloaded on the HTC First, available from AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T). AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega recently said the company has sold out of the HTC First after slashing the smartphone to a clearance price of 99 cents, along with a two-year contract--he also compared the device to Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) ROKR, the Motorola-produced, iTunes-enabled music phone introduced in fall 2005, roughly two years ahead of the first iPhone.

Facebook's total mobile monthly active users grew from 488 million to 751 million in the first quarter of 2013, a year-over-year increase off 54 percent. Its mobile-only MAUs also increased to 189 million, up from 157 million in the previous quarter.

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