'HTC First' Facebook Phone Launches Friday

If you’ve been eager to replace your start screen with a scrolling Facebook feed, your day has finally come.  The HTC First is the first smartphone with deep enough Facebook integration to be dubbed the “Facebook phone.”  It uses an Android OS primed with Facebook’s baby-blue interface, sending you directly to the familiar news feed, photo service, and messaging system that used to hide in a dedicated app.

Reviews for the HTC First “Facebook phone” started appearing on the web today, with largely positive reactions.  Its specs are on par with what smartphone users expect, and some have expressed an appreciation for the way it puts Facebook front-and-center without making it difficult to use other Android programs.

Early comparisons to the Samsung Galaxy S4 are pitting the HTC First against stiff competition, and showing serious promise for the fledgling smartphone.  Although not full 1080 HD like the S4, it does run at 720p on a 4.3-inch screen.  A 5 MP primary camera and 1.6 MP secondary camera, 16 GB of storage, and Jelly Bean 4.1 OS run on a cutting-edge Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core processor, with an Adreno 305 GPU and 1 GB of RAM.

Since a Facebook app has been available for a long time, the HTC First doesn’t have an entirely unique selling point, except that Facebook comes preloaded and dominates the interface.  The appeal may lie mostly with extremely active Facebook fans, but with Facebook reporting more than 1 billion active users, that may be more than enough. 

AT&T reportedly has plans to make the HTC First their flagship product, giving it prominent in-store placement and featuring it in ad campaigns.  It is also expected to have a slightly lower price point than other popular smartphones like the S4, at $99 with a 2-year contract or $449 without.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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