HTC today revealed the HTC First, the first Android smartphone that comes with Facebook Home pre-installed on the device.
With Facebook Home pre-installed on the HTC First, users can get all the experiences from the new Facebook Home app, such as cover feed and chat heads. But the HTC First packs some exclusive Facebook Home functionality that the app won’t have like the ability to feed in email and calendar notifications to the home screen.
“It’s a great opportunity to bring mobile and social together,” said HTC CEO Peter Chou at the event today held at Facebook’s headquarters.
Instead of building the mythical Facebook phone or its own mobile operating system, Facebook decided to partner with mobile device manufacturer HTC, and build an Android app that functions as a home screen replacement, without the need to fork or modify the Android OS.
“Android was designed from the ground up to support these deep integrations,” said Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook. Zuckerberg also revealed the Facebook Home Program for all original equipment manufacturers of Android devices, so in the future, more and more Android manufacturers could potentially design devices like the HTC First, with Facebook Home pre-loaded as the default home screen.
The HTC First will be available exclusively from AT&T on April 12 for $99.99, with four color choices including red, light blue, white and black. Pre-ordering for the HTC First begins today.
As Facebook rolls out its new Timeline design, some users have noticed that there’s no longer a way to display events they’re attending or view the events their friends have RSVP’d to. A Facebook engineer says this is a bug and the company is working on a fix.
In the old layout, users could access an events tab similar to what is currently available on business and fan pages. With the redesign, which only applies to user profiles, tabs have a new look and several new ones have been added for movies, books, fitness and apps. Events were part of this when the company initially launched the new design, but at some point in the past two weeks it stopped working.
Facebook product engineer Bob Baldwin answered a question on Reddit today about the issue. He said there is a bug that events lead Ed Maia is working to fix before re-enabling the module.
[Update: Privacy advocacy group Europe-v-Facebook.org explains that when the events module first rolled out, it revealed a user's past public events, which had not been previously available to a user's friends or other users from Timeline. The group says it notified Facebook of this issue. It is unclear whether the events bug Baldwin mentioned is related.]
Screenshot from Matt Navarra.
Facebook today began adding weather forecasts to upcoming events and current weather conditions to place pages such as parks, cities and neighborhoods, a spokesperson tells us.
Events that have a designated location, and which will occur within 10 days, will now offer a general forecast and estimates for high and low temperatures. Users can click to visit Weather Underground for full conditions and other information. This will be available for event pages on the web and mobile.
Facebook continues to implement tests that seek to make its events product more useful for event organizers and increase attendance. The latest test involves changing the RSVP option “maybe” to “interested.” There are also larger “join” buttons on some mobile stories about events.
Users in the test group can indicate that they are interested in an event or select existing options of “join” and “decline.” It’s likely that many users do not respond to event invitations at all. This change could increase response rates and encourage more users to connect to an event, even if they don’t commit to attend right away. This would allow event promoters to reach more people with details ahead of an event.
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Facebook event pages now have the option for admins to add custom cover photos. These banner photos replace the small thumbnail photos that event pages had previously.
The change, which was first written about by AllFacebook, brings the design of event pages more in line with business pages, profiles and groups. It also gives event promoters more options for getting people interested in their events through an eye-catching photo or an image that shares more information about the event.
Diligant integrates FBX – Media-buying platform Diligant announced this week that it has begun serving ads through the Facebook Exchange real-time bidding system. Digilant says it is the first partner to serve FBX ads direct in Mexico.
Adobe shares FBX results – Facebook Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer Adobe this week shared results from its first month of targeting ads through the Facebook Exchange. Adobe says FBX resulted in a conversion rate nearly 70 percent higher, and a cost per lead more than 50 percent lower than the average for eight other real-time bidding sources, though it was the second best performing ad supply source overall, not No. 1. Adobe noted FBX’s “favorable pricing” and “lower competition levels” than other exchanges.
Court rules Facebook doesn’t have to allow pseudonyms – Facebook won a case this week against a German privacy organization that argued the social network should not force users to use their real name on the site, according to the Associated Press. Germany has strict privacy laws, but the court ruled that the laws weren’t applicable in this case because Facebook has European headquarters in Ireland. Facebook says its real name policy helps protect users.
Facebook is testing new “buy tickets” buttons on events, but these buttons send users to other sites around the web and do not allow users to conduct transactions directly from an event page.
Previously, event organizers could list a site for users to buy tickets from, but that site would appear on an event page as a small bit.ly link. Facebook tells us that now it is trying more prominent buttons that direct users to wherever event tickets are being sold. These buttons appear in the info section of an event, in a user’s upcoming events section and in News Feed stories about the event, as seen in the screenshots below.
Facebook is testing different ways to encourage users to share events with their friends, including suggested invites and prompts to post about the event.
“Events are more fun with your friends,” says a dialog that appears after users click the “join” button to RSVP. In this dialog, some users are seeing an option to invite specific friends, whereas others get a share module to post the event to their Timeline and friends’ News Feeds. These features could lead more users to engage with Facebook Events and discover things to do.
Facebook will now let advertisers customize the headlines of their ads within the sidebar. This will be available via the API, Power Editor and self-serve ad tool.
Previously ads for pages, apps and events had to use the name of the page, app or event that they were promoting. However, ads linking off Facebook.com were allowed to have custom headlines. Now all of these ads can have unique titles up to 25 characters. This gives advertisers more opportunity to create attention-grabbing ads and test creative variations with different audiences to optimize their campaigns.
We’ve seen the feature live in the self-serve ad tool and Power Editor, though some users report that it has not rolled out to their accounts yet. These changes are also reflected in the Ads API documentation.