Facebook Home is now available for users outside the US. You can grab it for free from Google Play. To use Facebook Home, you will have to update your Facebook and Messenger apps to their latest versions. As of now, the app is only available to for a few smartphones, namely, Samsung's Galaxy S3 and Note II, and HTC's One, One X and One X+.
Cover Feed on Facebook Home lets users view their News Feed posts as soon as they turn their phone on. They can swipe through these posts to view more, double tap to like a post and then can comment on a post from the cover feed.
Up next is Chat Heads and Messenger. Home users can install Messenger on their devices to send and receive texts and Facebook messages at the same location. Then there is the ability to move in and out of conversations while, say, watching a video or browsing the web. It is possible to type replies right from chat heads. Alternatively, users can choose to move them around, in case they don't want to respond to it right away.
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The app was launched last week and was only available to US users at the time. This didn't stop enterprising homebrew developers from getting their hands on the apk from Google Play and releasing it in the wild, however. There is also a tweaked version of the Facebook Home apk out in the wild that makes the app compatible with any phone that has a 720p screen.
Facebook Home has been very popular. Shortly after being available on Google Play, the app garnered a lot of downloads and user reviews. Opinions on Facebook Home seem to be polarised. The review rating is averaging out at 2.3 out of 5 stars. The overwhelming consensus seems to steer towards the lower end of the rating scale, though, with the app having gotten 2,608 1-star reviews, as opposed to only 897 5-star reviews and 478 4-star reviews.
The biggest criticism faced by the app is that it eats up too much battery and data usage, while at the same time hampering regular Android features such as widgets. A 1-star review says: “The app's pretty lousy. Causes battery drain, severely hampers operation of your device, it just gets in the way of what you need/want to do.”
Facebook lovers seem to have taken a liking to Facebook Home, however. Users have praised the app for being smooth and having quick access to their social feeds. A 5-star review says: “I have the galaxy note 2 it does a amazing job thank you facebook! Keep up the amazing work!”
Some of the average reviews, namely the 239 3-star reviews, mostly seem to have issues with the restrictions on homescreen customisation that Facebook Home seems to have. One of the 3-star reviews read: “Looks pretty. Messenger is cool with that chatheads. However, we should have more freedom controlling what we want on the Lock screen because I want the phone dialer there.”
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