The Drum Awards Festival - Official Deadline

-d -h -min -sec

Author

By Noel Young, Correspondent

April 5, 2013 | 4 min read

After all the hype and "is it a phone or not?" questions, what is the verdict on Facebook 's new "Home" app for Android phones ? Pretty positive, it would seem - but with reservations. Have a look at the ad for the app, which had received 500,000 views by Friday pm, then take in the views of US media leaders

The Wall Street Journal said Home"represents Facebook's boldest move yet to take a more central role in the mobile-device world—a play that should also help it sell more ads on smartphones."

Instead of displaying a phone's traditional menu of apps, Home takes over the screen when a phone is turned on—filling it with posts from a user's news feed, photos and messages from friends.

Forbes magazine saw Home as part of Facebook’s big move to become more native to mobile, as more of its users access the network through their smartphones.

"There’s good reason to predict this will be a hit, if Facebook Home can act as an attractive, high-quality filter to the mobile web, "said Forbes.

“By going ‘over the top’ of Google’s prized Android operating system, Facebook is doing to Google exactly what Google did to the Internet,” Victor Basta, managing director of Magister Advisors told the magazine.

Howver said Forbes Facebook still has a way to go before Home becomes an interface that millions will want to download.

One issue was the very limited roll-out.

"Facebook Home will be available to download for free on Google Play on April 12. But you’ll only be able to use if it you have one of six devices – the latest handsets from HTC and Samsung. 3) Who really wants a Facebook-optimized phone? "

Then there was The unknown consequence of creating a wall between Google and mobile carriers.

"Home makes Facebook a primary conduit for communication on an Android device. Carriers have seen this coming for a while, and a Facebook interface puts another wall between customers and their services and brand. "

The San Jose Mercury News quoted Gartner tech analyst Brian Blau,"There are some very passionate Facebook users. I think they'll love this," .

But Chris Jones of the Canalys research firm was more cautious , saying there were different "levels of willingness" to expose yourself to a particular app.

"Some people like to keep their home screens fairly plain. Some want to see their own photos, not other peoples' photos."

Jones added, "I think a lot of people may be really reluctant to dive into this straightaway."

Tech site ZDNet recalled early Android phones by Motorola Mobility which ran a social network streaming service fcalled Motoblur. Motorola dropped it in 2010.

"The initial reaction to Motoblur when it was first announced was similar to that of Facebook Home after the launch announcement and demos. Many of us are deeply integrated with our social networks and having our friends' updates pushed to our phone is compelling at first.

"The reality may soon set in for Facebook Home users as it did for Motoblur users of yesteryear; it's not always a good thing when the social network takes over the phone.

"One of the biggest draws of Android is the ability to customize the home screens to provide a user experience tailored to the individual. That will be totally lost with Facebook Home."

And one last question still to be answered by Facebook's PR team: Is there any way it could finish on Apple's iphone?