Facebook Home: Still a Letdown, Just Not a Phone

All week we’ve been hanging on bated breath for the announcement of the Facebook phone. Not that we wanted to camp out to get our hands on it, we just wanted an actual product to criticize. Unfortunately, there is no actual Facebook phone coming out, only Facebook Home. Let’s round up the best of the best in reviews, shall we?

Mat Honan of Wired hath officially dubbed Facebook Home a “Triumph of Mediocrity.” His scalding review detailed how this isn’t a Facebook app per se, but it’s not an operating system either.

Lots of pundits have been asking who this is for. Facebook gave us an answer today: It’s for people who don’t care about a rich, full experience on the Internet, yet love Facebook.

Basically it’s the Internet for Dummies. Facebook has been trying to become more than a social network for years. Through its Graph Search it wants to compete with Google, hoping users will stay on its site longer instead of using an actual search engine. Those who are less tech savvy could use Facebook Home for both their search and social needs.

facebookHaydn Shaughnessy of Forbes used the lipstick on the pig metaphor. His article discusses where the mobile phone market is heading and which companies have the best chance of laying claim.

He believes the US and Europe market shares are set in their ways – even if Facebook made a complete phone, we wouldn’t flock to it. But India and Africa are where the next billion cell phone users will come from. Basically, the mobile market is a rapidly shrinking land-grab.

I’m not convinced that Home, a bunch of apps his talented team have hacked together, is anything like the response a company of Facebook’s size and influence needs… Zuckerberg needs to think more about the responsibilities that go with connecting a billion people and the types of services that they would pay for, not just about how to capture mobile real estate.

Facebook already a billion users, they should focus on making them happy instead of roping in a billion more.

Eric Zeman of InformationWeek took a different attack on Facebook Home. Rather than blatantly hating it or criticizing its inevitable failure in the market, he took a look at the usability. Instead of seeing the time, date, weather or anything else, users see their Facebook news feed – called a Cover Feed on Home.

So who will find Facebook Home appealing? Social networking fanatics. People who live in Facebook all day every day will probably enjoy some of what Facebook Home has to offer. Those who perpetually want to be “in the know” will like the cascading imagery and information that flows across the home screen.

Basically, if you can’t handle the extra two steps it takes to unlock your phone and click on the Facebook app, Home is for you. If Internet usability is something you despise, we’ll sign you up. But if you realize the sun doesn’t rise and set over Mark Zuckerberg, I would for the next great tech invention.

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Amanda Dodge