HTC First with Facebook Home coming to the UK

06 Apr 2013


The HTC First Android smartphone, developed in partnership with Facebook to play host to the company's newly announced Facebook Home software pack, is to launch exclusively in the UK on EE and its Orange and T-Mobile sub-networks.

Due to launch in the US on the 12th of April, but with no official UK release date yet available, the HTC First is, as rumoured, a mid-range Android-powered smartphone. It has a 4.3in 1,280x720 display, a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, and a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and support for 1080p Full HD video capture. A surprise extra, is that the phone supports 4G, which explains why EE is the launch partner in the UK.


As a result, all Facebook messages, notifications, wall posts, shared images and the like, will appear directly on the phone with no need to launch a dedicated Facebook application. For those who primarily use their smartphones to browse and post to the social networking site, that's a tempting proposition, but it will likely prove unpopular with others who use third-party launchers downloaded from the Google Play store.


While HTC First will be the first handset to get Facebook Home, it won't be the only one: the software will be available from Google Play to install onto the SamsungGalaxy S3Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 2, as well as the HTC OneHTC One X andHTC One X+. The HTC First, however, will be the only handset to include the software pre-installed at the time of purchase, and there is no news as to whether Facebook is planning a similar software launch for other mobile platforms.


It's not the hardware that makes the device special, it's the software. The HTC First will be the first handset to have Facebook Home pre-loaded. Designed to replace the stock Android launcher - the main user interface to Android, which provides access to the home screens and all installed applications - Facebook Home is designed to integrate heavily with the social networking service.


UK pricing has yet to be confirmed, but is expected to place the handset at around £100 on a reasonably low-priced 18- or 24-month contract. No company has yet announced plans to release the HTC First as a SIM-free handset-only purchase.


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