Tech news site MoDaCo on Monday leaked a prerelease version of the Facebook Home app, which is scheduled to be released on Friday. Facebook was able to shut off the app after a few hours, but not before several media members got some hands-on time with it.
For those unfamiliar, Facebook Home is a tweaked version of Android Jelly Bean that brings Facebook to the front and center of the user interface. It will be available for download on the Google Play Store and will come built into the new HTC First.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that Facebook Home worked on the Google Nexus 4, which wasn’t included as one of the supported phones Facebook named last week. It also worked on the Google Nexus 7 tablet, despite Mark Zuckerberg saying that Facebook Home wouldn’t be ready for tablets in time for the Friday release.
Paul O’Brien, the founder of MoDaCo who leaked the app, found a setting that allows users to turn off the notification bar in Facebook Home. This should come as good news for those not interested in swiping away notifications every time they pop up.
But like most prerelease software, there were problems with stability, and some Facebook Home features weren’t working, most notably Chat Heads. Still, most reviewers had positive things to say about the app. Devindra Harawar from Venture Beat wrote that the app looked “as elegant as Facebook’s initial videos and screenshots.”
For a more in-depth look at Facebook Home running on the HTC First, the phone designed to run Facebook Home natively, check out this video from the Verge.