The Popularity of the iPhone Among Facebook Staff May Have Caused Home's Poor Launch
The launch of Facebook’s Home layer on Android appears to have been a flop, with relatively low installation rates and even lower user ratings on Google Play thus far. Some of the observers are speculating that the blame is attributed toward an unlikely candidate: Apple’s iPhone.
The popularity of Apple’s iPhone among Facebook’s personnel is one big reason the social network’s power grab on the Android platform has been lackluster according to TechCrunch
. It’s being presumed that Facebook simply doesn’t have enough dedicated Android users to know what works best on Google’s mobile operating system. Facebook employees reportedly admitted that many of the testers for Home were normally iPhone users and therefore were unable to see anything wrong with the changes Home made to a user’s Android handset. These included changes like doing away with widgets, removing the dock for often-used apps, and keeping users from creating app folders.
The problem can be attributed in some degree toward the fact that the iPhone is much more popular within Facebook’s ranks than Android on the whole. The Facebook app for iOS is more polished, especially in the tablet front, than its Android counterpart as well. Last year, the social network began an effort to bring its Android app up to par with its iOS counterpart. The company began requiring app developers to carry Android phones and to use Facebook’s Android app in order to see what was wrong with it and how to fix it.
As of right now, Facebook executives have acknowledged their missteps in creating Home and the company is already readying a new version of the Android skin that will address many of the user complaints. Users apparently like Cover Feed and Chat Heads, with the app typically leading to users spending an additional 25% more time on Facebook. The new version though, will bring back the dock for most used apps and present users with a walkthrough when they first start the app up.
Facebook home debuted to much fanfare and attention but just one month later the Facebook-themed android skin has seen little traction among the large U.S. Android install base. Officially made available for six Android handsets, Home, according to Google Play, has only seen between a million and five million downloads, with Facebook and Facebook Messenger both having between 100 million and 500 million installs. The HTC First, which was known as the “Facebook Phone” has seen sluggish sales since debuting alongside Home as well. Sources were claiming that the First has moved fewer than 15,000 units in over a month and that AT&T is discontinuing the device after having it dropped to $0.99 from $99.