The Facebook Phone: First Look

By Phill Powell

What exactly is the Facebook phone? That’s been the question lately in social media circles. Today, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg cleared things up in a press event in Palo Alto, California. But although there was a Facebook phone to announce, Zuckerberg was quick to mention that Facebook itself did not have any desire to get into the computer hardware business. “We’re not building a phone,” he announced to the eager, then stumped crowd. “We’re not building an operating system.”

“What would happen if our phones were designed around people, not apps? Today our phones are designed around apps, not people. We’re going to flip that around.”

-Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook

Instead, Zuckerberg showcased what he called Facebook’s “home on Android.” It’s a new version of Android specially enhanced to support Facebook functionality, and it will operate via an HTC smartphone also announced on Thursday—named “HTC First™” and available through AT&T. The phone (which will be available in black, white, pale blue, or red) will retail for $99.99 with pre-orders already being taken on the AT&T website. Expect it in stores on April 12th, which is also the official launch date for the “Facebook Home” interface.

“Phone ‘Home’!”
The HTC First phone—described by HTC as the “ultimate social media phone”—was optimized to support Facebook Home, the new interface operating on the Android platform.

Facebook Home, while developed specifically for the HTC First™ phone, can be used with certain other existing brands and models: Samsung’s Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note 2, and HTC’s One X and One X+ phones. Facebook Home will also work with two models yet to be introduced: the HTC One and the Samsung Galaxy S 4.

The HTC First™ is loaded with Facebook Home, as well as other features designed to help its users enjoy their social media experience even more:

It’s Facebook calling: HTC’s new “First” smartphone is tricked out with Facebook-friendly features through its “Facebook Home” interface.

Chat Heads This let you chat with friends without interruption, while you continue to run additional apps. The feature overlays small chat bubbles over the app shown on screen. Press a bubble (which displays a small pic of your friend) and it opens a text message or a Facebook Messenger conversation.
Cover Feed Equally cool is Facebook Home’s lock screen, or “Cover Feed.” This indicates what content your circle of Facebook friends is sharing. See something you like? Join in by swiping on the screen, or you can make comments about posts rights from this Cover Feed.
Super-Sharp Display The HTC First™ delivers 1280 x 720p resolution. The phone’s 4.3-inch super LCD screen promises astounding clarity with 341 pixels per inch.
Your Kind of Screen Because the HTC First™ lets you stream news feed images from your friends, your home-screen display is constantly changing and updating itself. It keeps up with what your friends are doing.
Compact Size The HTC First™ measures in at almost 5 inches long and approximately 2.5 inches wide, and HTC is quick to note that the phone’s trim width makes it less than a half inch wider than the average credit card.
Under the Hood The HTC First™ has a Qualcomm 8930AA, dual-core 1.4 GHz processor that runs the Android 4.1 OS. And although the available capacity varies, the total storage on the phone is 16GB.
Get the Picture This is a social-media phone, right? So you’re going to want to take lots of pictures to share with your friends. The HTC First™ packs a 5 MP camera that has a BSI sensor and offers 1080p Full HD video recording, for capturing life’s moments that just have to be shared.
Apps at a Touch The HTC First™ lets users group all their favorite apps in one place. The App Launcher then lets you trigger those apps, with a single tap of the screen.

The HTC First is available in four colors: black, white, pale blue, and red.

For Facebook, it was a day to demonstrate that the company will not be content to rest on its accomplishments. It plans to branch out into other arenas, but do it in its own way. “What would happen if our phones were designed around people, not apps?” Zuckerberg asked. “Today our phones are designed around apps, not people. We’re going to flip that around.”

Android Rocks!
The only thing cooler than surfing today’s expanding wave of technology is getting to go behind the scenes and see how it all works. That’s what kids and teens all across the U.S. and Canada will be doing this summer, at Digital Media Academy tech camp locations.

DMA is where you can discover how to create cutting-edge content especially for the Android OS, one of today’s hottest operating systems. Students in DMA’s Google® Android™ Game Development with Unity® camp learn how to use powerful Unity® software to help them create game assets and manage game-development work flow. They also discover scripting and programming using Java™. Make this summer count by mastering cool new skills at DMA!