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TheStreet Open House

Facebook Home Has Followers, and Critics

Stock quotes in this article: FB, GOOG

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Facebook (FB) Home is gaining a large following but it's still unclear whether it's an enthusiastic following.

According to the Google (GOOG) Play Store, more than a half million people have downloaded Facebook's new software in the first ten days since its release. That's an amazing number considering it can only be installed on a limited number of "premium" Android phones.

But, if you look at some of the other numbers you'll see that despite the large number of people trying it, only a very small number of new users have bothered to rate the software. More concerning, those that have rated it don't like it much.

In Monday trading, Facebook was gaining 0.7% to $25.90.

Home is Facebook's idea of how one of its branded smartphones should operate. The software replaces the familiar Android operating system with a new-look which features a seemingly endless stream of full-screen messages from your Facebook friends. Similar to a screen saver that operates all the time.

After a short period, it became quite tiresome. Plus, you have to press a number of buttons to find your way back to the familiar Android interface so that you can do other things. I came away thinking that Facebook Home's best feature was found in its settings panel: the on-off switch.

And now it looks like I'm not alone. Out of the hundreds of thousands of people who've tried it, only 11,000 or so have bothered to actually rate it. They've given it two stars out of a possible five with the majority giving it only one star with comments such as "poor effort..", "it needs some tweaking..", "kills my battery life.." and "within 10 minutes of downloading, I uninstalled".

To be fair, there are other early adopters who seem to like it with most supporters saying they think it's a good first effort.

Facebook's media representatives didn't immediately return a phone call and e-mail for comment.

The Facebook Home software will come pre-installed on the new HTC First smartphone. It's also currently available for downloading to an HTC One X, One X+, Samsung's Galaxy S III, and Galaxy Note II as well as the upcoming Galaxy S4 and HTC One phones.

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