Facebook Home downloads top 500K in first week, reviewers give it 2.2 stars
Downloads of the new Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) Home launcher for Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android eclipsed 500,000 during its first week of worldwide commercial availability. The app's Google Play store page signaled the install milestone this weekend.
Facebook Home is an alternative homescreen promising users more immediate and efficient access to Facebook services, deeply integrating the social networking platform into the mobile user experience. Features include Cover Feed, essentially a home page presenting apps and media, as well as chat heads, which enables users to message with friends while accessing other mobile applications. Home is currently limited to a handful of devices including the Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy Note II, HTC One X and HTC One X+. It is also preloaded on AT&T Mobility's (NYSE:T) HTC First.
Facebook now boasts more than 680 million mobile monthly active users across all platforms, with downloads of its standalone Facebook application for Android ranging between 100 million and 500 million. Facebook Home's limited availability is no doubt a major reason why so such a small percentage of Android users have installed the app, although many consumers who have downloaded Home have expressed frustration with the launcher: At press time, Facebook Home carries an average Google Play user rating of just 2.2 stars out of five, with more than half of all customer reviews awarding the app a rating of just one star.
Last week, Facebook expanded chat heads messaging to its flagship application for Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS, but COO Sheryl Sandberg said the social network will not be directly porting Home to the iOS platform. "Home is based on the openness of Android. It allows users to customize in ways that Apple does not," Sandberg told The Wall Street Journal. "You cannot develop on Apple with the same openness as you can on Android."
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