A Facebook employee holds a phone that is running the new 'Home' program (image by Justin Sullivan/Getty)
Brett Molina, USA TODAY
The "Facebook phone" is finally available, but how quickly will it make friends with consumers?
Starting today, owners of select Android smartphones can download Facebook Home, a new interface with a suite of apps that ties users more closely to the social network.
Home includes Cover Feed, transforming the user's home screen into a scrolling feed of friends' updates, and Chat Heads to keep in touch through Facebook or text messages, even while using other apps.
As part of Home's launch, Facebook is introducing a smartphone - the HTC First for AT&T ($99 with a contract) - optimized to run the interface.
ED BAIG: HTC First an intimate Facebook experience
However, consumers reactions to the once-mythical Facebook phone are mixed. Caitlin Moyer, a marketing manager from Wisconsin, says she's not interested in the device. "I think the product is a couple years late," she says. "In the meantime, Apple has taken the world by storm and Facebook has become less popular with a younger demographic."
Andy Caldwell, a machinist in Salt Lake City, Utah, is concerned about what the social network can access through Home. "I'm worried about my privacy with Facebook," he says.
There are some consumers who find the "Facebook phone" a great option. Public relations executive Janelle McCoy of Rochester, N.Y., says she would buy the device. "Facebook Home puts it at my fingertips," says McCoy. "Being able to continue conversations on Facebook while doing other activities on my phone is very appealing."
Abe Shuhag, a college student from Cambridge, Mass., would use Facebook Home, too, and thinks it could be "revolutionary" since other popular services such as Instagram and LinkedIn run on the social network. "Facebook Home is a great thing," he says. "It paves (the) way to new ideas."
Readers, have you tried Facebook Home yet? Would you? Share your thoughts/experiences below.