Facebook vows Home improvements, halts U.K. launch of HTC First


Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) said it is retooling its much-maligned Home launcher for Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, promising significant improvements directly inspired by consumer feedback.

Facebook Home

Facebook Home, introduced in early April, is an alternative homescreen promising Android device users more immediate and efficient access to Facebook social media services. Among the nearly 18,000 consumers who've submitted Home reviews to the Google Play storefront, more than half have awarded Home just one star, the digital storefront's lowest rating.

"We've listened to feedback from users on their experience using Home," Facebook said in a statement provided to The Verge. "While many people love it, we've heard a lot of great feedback about how to make Home substantially better. As a result we're focusing the next few months on adding customization features that address the feedback we received."

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 new HTC First, available from AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T). AT&T recently offered the HTC First for the clearance price of 99 cents, along with a two-year contract--an AT&T spokesperson told CNet the company runs this type of handset promotion all the time, although some observers said the sale price lends further credence to a recent note from Wall Street firm Sterne Agee stating "A local AT&T store we checked with told us it had not sold a single HTC First phone."

Telecommunications providers EE and Orange planned to release the HTC First to U.K. subscribers this summer, but Facebook said it is halting those plans for the time being. "While we focus on making Home better, we are going to limit supporting new devices and think it makes a lot of sense for EE and Orange to hold off deploying the HTC First in Europe," the social network said.

"Rest assured, we remain committed to bringing our customers the latest mobile experiences, and we will continue to build on our strong relationship with Facebook so as to offer customers new opportunities in the future," EE told Engadget.

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.

For more:
- read this Verge article
- read this Engadget article

Related articles:
Facebook Home quietly expands to Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One
Facebook Home needs an extreme makeover
Facebook Home downloads top 500K in first week, reviewers give it 2.2 stars
Microsoft exec slams Facebook Home, calls Android 'complicated enough'
Facebook divulges Home data collection policies to quell privacy fears
Facebook takes over Android with Home, AT&T to offer HTC First Facebook phone