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4 years ago

Hands-on with the 'HTC First'

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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

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4 years ago

HTC First to cost $450 without a contract

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Going contract-free can be expensive up-front, and the $450 HTC First proves it

By now you've heard that you can snag the HTC First at AT&T in the US for $99, and soon you can do the same in the UK on EE (pricing to be determined), but what if you just want to buy one outright? If that's what you're looking to do, be prepared to shell out $450 for it.

There are a lot of reasons why people want contract-free phones. Inexpensive prepaid service, the freedom to switch carriers at will, and not having an upgrade option from your carrier are just a few. They're all good, valid reasons and we're 100-percent behind folks who want to take a bit more control and save a few dollars if they can. And $450 is far from the most expensive contract-free price we've ever seen. But it is also a far cry from $99, so decisions will have to be made.

While it's likely that HTC made a few extra changes to Android for the First, chances are a cheaper, higher spec'd Nexus 4 is a better buy. Eventually Facebook Home will make it's way to other phones, and the Nexus 4 is bound to be on the short list. We won't presume to tell you how to spend your pennies, but it's something to consider. 

Source: AT&T

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4 years ago

HTC First video walkthrough

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We're live at Facebook HQ, where the company's just announced Facebook Home and the aptly-named HTC First -- the first handset to run Facebook's new software suite. Before we dig into our full hands-on preview, there's just time to  take a look at the hardware and software in our video walkthrough of the phone.

As we've come to expect from HTC, the 'First' is a sleek piece of hardware, with a soft-touch plastic back and a minimalist look reminiscent of its Windows Phone 8 stuff. And on the software side, Facebook has radically altered what we've come to expect from Android phones, bringing a home screen experience based upon photos, content and people.

Check out our video walkthrough above. The HTC First ships on Apr. 12 on AT&T, priced $99.99.

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4 years ago

HTC First an EE exclusive in the UK

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Facebook Home-powered phone will be exclusive to the UK's first 4G network

British mobile network EE has announced that it'll exclusively carry the new HTC First in the UK. The first handset to run the new Facebook Home suite out of the box, the HTC First also packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU, a 4.3-inch screen and 4G LTE connectivity.

No UK pricing or release date has been offered yet, but with the phone launching on Apr. 12 in the U.S. we'd imagine it'll be hitting British shores sooner rather than later.

More: HTC First forums

Source: EE on Twitter

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4 years ago

AT&T's HTC One now available for preorder

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Snag one by April 18 and get a free HTC Media Link HD as well

Just a quick heads up in amongst all the Facebook craziness that AT&T's version of the HTC One is now available for preorder. Pony up $199 and you'll get 32 gigabytes of on-board storage. Another $100 gets you the 64GB version. That's all on-contract pricing, of course, but AT&T tells us you should be able to pre-order off-contract as well.

Plus, if you preorder by April 18 (the HTC One is officially available April 19), AT&T's throwing in a free Media Link HD for wireless streaming. (See our full review of the Media Link HD.)

You can preorder the HTC One from AT&T here.

More: Our HTC One review; HTC One forums

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4 years ago

Facebook Home coming to Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean only

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Gingerbread users out of luck in getting Facebook Home on their devices

Facebook Home -- the new app suite announced today by Mark Zuckerberg at the 'Facebook's New Home on Android' event -- has been confirmed in an after-event Q&A session to be compatible only with devices running Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. That means any phones or tablets running an Android version older than 4.x are out of luck when it comes to using the upcoming Facebook software.

Right now the official list of phones that'll support Facebook Home at launch is as follows: HTC One, HTC One X, HTC One X+, Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, Galaxy Note II, and of course the HTC First.

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4 years ago

Facebook Home Program partners - HTC, Samsung, Sony, Huawei and others

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Carriers, manufacturers and a chipmaker partner with Facebook

At today's press conference at its California HQ, Facebook announced that many of the mobile world's big names are already on-board with its Facebook Home Program, aimed to bring the social network's new "Home" suite of apps to phone buyers out of the box.

The list includes manufacturers like HTC, Samsung, Sony, Huawei, Alcatel, Lenovo, ZTE, chipmaker Qualcomm and mobile networks AT&T, Orange and EE.

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4 years ago

Facebook Home event replay now available

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The live stream for the Facebook Home event has wrapped up, but the replay is available for those of you that want to really know the ins and outs, but missed the show the first time around. The short version is, Facebook is making a launcher that has a bunch of in-depth customizations for notifications, news feed, and chat. It's not a whole new operating system, but it does promise to be a unique experience - at least for those of us that spend a lot of time on Facebook. 

So, notice anything especially interesting from the live event that hasn't really been highlighted yet?

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4 years ago

Facebook Home video shows Chat Heads and Cover Feed in action

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Alongside the big Facebook Home announcement today was a short and sweet video which ran through what these new Android apps were all about. Sure, the video is mostly about invoking all the feels for social networking, but we do get to see Chat Heads, Cover Feed and notifications in action. It looks like it's working smoothly enough, anyway.

Expect Facebook Home to be landing April 12, alongside the new HTC First

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4 years ago

HTC First the first Snapdragon 400-powered phone

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Hidden away in today's HTC First and Facebook Home announcements was the news that the Facebook-centric HTC First is powered by Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 400 processor -- a mid-range chip announced back in February. The Facebook Home-running handset is the first to incorporate this new chip.

The Snapdragon 400 in the HTC First includes a dual Krait aSMP CPU running at 1.4GHz. That's paired with an Adreno 305 CPU, native Miracast wireless display technology, and 4G LTE connectivity options.

The HTC First will launch on Apr. 12 on AT&T, priced at $99.99.

More: HTC First announcement; HTC First forums

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4 years ago

HTC and AT&T announce the HTC First with Facebook Home, coming April 12

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The new Facebook phone is official, and it'll launch this month

We're live at Facebook HQ in Menlo Park, Calif. where HTC and AT&T have taken the wraps off the HTC First, the first handset to come with the new Facebook Home experience out of the box.

A minimalist design with curved corners and a widescreen display, the HTC First puts Facebook Home's content and people-centric UI front and center. The device runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on a 4.3-inch screen, and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 CPU.

The HTC First will be available on April 12, for $99.99 on AT&T in four color options -- black, white, red and blue. Preorders begin today. In Europe, it'll launch on EE and Orange.

Keep watching Android Central for more information as it emerges. In the meantime, we've got more photos after the break.

More: Facebook Home forum; HTC First forum

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4 years ago

Facebook Home coming to Android tablets in coming months

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During today's Facebook event, it was mentioned that though tablets wouldn't be supported at Home's launch, they would be available in the coming months. 

For those unfamiliar, Facebook Home is a collection of Android apps that integrate deeply into the OS, though it's not an operating system of its own. 

What do you guys think of Home? The emphasis on Facebook pictures seems like the experience will lend itself well to tablets. 

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4 years ago

Facebook announces Home - a group of social Android apps

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Relax, they aren't forking Android

Today Facebook announced a whole suite of new social apps for Android that will help with staying up to date with status updates, messaging, and everything else Facebook has to offer. Don't worry, Home isn't a new operating system, or their own phone. Everything will be downloadable from Google Play. New updates with fresh features will come every month. It will be available for download on April 12 for a few select devices (Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, HTC One X+, and Galaxy Note 2), and the newly announced HTC First

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4 years ago

AT&T LG Optimus G Jelly Bean update is official

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AT&T's Optimus G gets Android 4.1.2 and ISIS Mobile Wallet​

The over-the-air update started hitting devices a day ago, but today it's official -- AT&T's LG Optimus G has its Jelly Bean upgrade. AT&T PR has confirmed the update to Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, bringing improvements such as "Project Butter" performance enhancements and Google Now predictive search.

The update also enables the ISIS Mobile Wallet -- an NFC-based Google Wallet competitor currently in testing in Salt Lake City. Utah and Austin, Texas.

To grab the update, turn on Wifi and head to Settings > General > About phone > Software Update > Update. Once you're updated, hit the comments and let us know how you're getting on with the newer version of Android.

Source: AT&T

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4 years ago

We're live at 'Facebook's New Home on Android'

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New app, new hardware (yes, really) and a new approach to social on Android! Join us for the liveblog!

Greetings from beautiful Silicon Valley, California! We're at Facebook HQ this morning for the big "Facebook Phone" event, where we fully expect to see a new app, custom launcher and -- crazy as it seems -- a new, dedicated smartphone.

Quite frankly, Facebook's got some explaining to do with all this, and we're itching to get the full scoop.

Livebloggage will commence at the following times:

  • 10 a.m. PDT (that's the U.S. West Coast -- the best coast)
  • 1 p.m. EDT (New York and Roanoke)
  • 6 p.m. BST (in London Town)

And all points in between.

Join us after the break for the complete liveblog, with photos and commentary from the event, your comments, and basically the biggest party from the most trusted name in Android!

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