A couple quick thoughts on the "HTC First," aka the first Facebook phone.
First off, the hardware most definitely isn't the most important part of this phone. If you're the kind of nerd who lives for specs -- the speeds and feeds crowd -- head elsewhere. In fact, there was very little talk at today's event at Facebook HQ (and same for the ensuing press releases) about the nuts and bolts of the HTC First. And that's because it's Facebook Home that's the star of the show.
We did get an answer to the burning "Why!?!?!" regarding Facebook doing its own hardware. It's pretty simple, in fact, and it's something we should have thought of. While using Facebook Home on an existing device is a pretty damn good experience, there are certain low level things -- particularly regarding notifications -- that you can't do with a launcher. You need deeper hooks into the existing operating system. And, so, we have the HTC First.
The phone itself is unassuming. It's got the usual HTC curves, and a 5MP camera out front your usual "did I really just use that" front-facer out front. It's deceptively light, and and thin to boot. (OK, for the speeds and feeds folks, it's got a dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor and it's running on Android 4.1.)
But it's Facebook Home that's the real star, and for good reason. It looks good. If you don't live in Facebook -- and chances are if you're a regular reader of this blog -- you may well not have a great need for it. But on the other hand, it's still a full-fledged Android smartphone, complete with all the Google apps -- and, more important, access to Google Play -- that you're used to. That was almost certainly a necessity, and it means all of your existing applications should still work, and they're completely accessible through a normal app drawer.
We'll have deeper looks in the coming days and weeks as Facebook's HTC First comes to market. Video hands-on and more hands-on pics are after the break.
More: HTC First forum