Facebook Home review, release date: Get an early sneak peek at Facebook's Home Android app
Heather Kelly, CNN
8:13 AM, Apr 9, 2013
The new Facebook Home Android app isn't scheduled to launch until Friday, but the Internet is getting some early peeks.
First there's the quirky new Facebook Home ad, which was released over the weekend. The ad shows a man boarding an airplane while simultaneously flipping through the latest updates on his Facebook Home phone. Each update comes to life around him, with some sunblock-slathered gentlemen stored in the overhead compartments, drag queen Shangela popping out of the service cart, a chocolate-covered nephew blocking the aisle and a couple of cats bounding toward first class, where they belong.
The ad doesn't really share any detailed information about the product, other than pushing the concept that its bigger images and lock screen placement make Facebook so immersive that you might suffer vivid hallucinations in public.
For people interested in a more detailed peek, the smartphone skin and app launcher made an early if short-lived debut on Monday when a prerelease version was leaked online. Tech site MoDaCo successfully installed a version of the Facebook Home app.
The biggest revelation was that the app worked on more Android devices than Facebook has officially named, including Google's Nexus 4 smartphone and Nexus 7 tablet. However, the build wasn't fully operational, featuring a few bugs and lacking the Chat Heads feature, which pulls together messages from multiple services into one tool.
The app has since been disabled on the Facebook side, according to MoDaCo's Paul O'Brien.
Some publications got a more official preview of Facebook Home last week when they got a little hands-on time with the HTC First smartphone.
The HTC First is the first phone that will come with Facebook Home preinstalled. Impressions were mixed: The Verge called the execution of Chat Heads "clever," Engadget thought it was zippy enough for the targeted nonpower users, Wired chimed in that it isn't "fully polished yet" and Gizmodo said it looked responsive.
Facebook Home was unveiled on Thursday. The app will add additional Facebook features to the Android mobile operating system, replacing a smartphone's lock screen with a slide show of news feed updates and placing Facebook apps and shortcuts for posting updates, sharing photos and checking into location prominently on the home screen.
The app will be available in the Google Play store for select Android smartphones and come preinstalled on the HTC First starting Friday.