April 4, 2013 at 4:16 PM ET
Facebook revealed "Facebook Home," Thursday, a clever little way to overhaul an Android phone ... and turn it into a Facebook phone. Facebook Home will be supported on a variety of Android devices, but first it'll launch on an HTC device incredibly appropriately named "First."
On first touch, the HTC First feels like an average Android device. It's not as solid as the gorgeous HTC One, but it's not exactly flimsy either. It's sturdy and has a clean look to it. The First feels a tad small in a world of XXXXL Android smartphones, but it won't feel unusual to those who've been toting around any iPhone prior to the elongated iPhone 5.
Of course, the phone's definitely not really the main attraction here. It's the software, more specifically Facebook Home. As soon as you glance at the phone, you'll see that it basically feels as if Facebook took Android over. Photos and posts from your news feed are displayed full-screen, slowly cycling through. You can tap on them once to open up comments or double-tap to like 'em.
"Chat heads," icons representing the people with whom you're exchanging messages, follow you everywhere. From the main screen to the app folders. Tap on 'em and you're right in the messages. The whole experience is pleasantly smooth, with all gestures feeling entirely natural and instinctive.
You're probably getting the idea at this point though: Facebook Home means that Facebook's invading and taking over your phone. Will this be desirable? We'll see. The good thing is that you can turn off Facebook Home at anytime and that its settings are granular enough to let you turn off certain notification types.
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