Preview: HTC First

Preview: HTC First

The HTC First comes pre-loaded with Facebook Home

The HTC First is an Android phone that comes pre-loaded with Facebook's new Android launcher, Facebook Home.

Facebook Home puts Facebook front and center on the First. Both the lock and home screens of the device are filled with content your friends post, called "Cover Feed".

Regular functions like the app drawer are still accessible but this has been pushed to the background.

Facebook Home has a big focus on messaging. The launcher has a feature called "Chat Heads" which pops up a circular icon when you receive a message.

This chat icon can remain on the edge of the screen while you're using other apps and a pop-up box can be displayed when you want to type a message. The Chat Heads feature works with both Facebook messages and regular text messages.

Users can turn Facebook Home off if they wish. This will revert to Google's stock Android launcher and not HTC's Sense UI.

The First will initially ship with the 4.1 Jelly Bean version of Android, but there's been no word on an update cycle.

The HTC First has a 4.3in touchscreen with a 720p HD resolution of 1280x720, 16GB of internal memory and a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera.

The HTC First does not have a microSD card slot, so users won't be able to expand the 16GB of built-in storage.

The HTC First will be available in black, white, blue and red colour variants. Its design is very simple and straightforward with a smooth, uninterrupted finish on the back, slightly curved sides and a flat front.

Below the screen are three capacitive buttons (back, home and multitasking) but the icons used differ from the stock Android buttons.

The HTC First is powered by a Qualcomm 8930AA 1.4GHz dual-core processor, has 1GB of RAM and includes a 2000mAh non-removable battery.

The First is a quad-band 3G device but it isn't compatible with the 1800MHz 4G network band used in Australia by Telstra and Optus.

Despite launching in multiple global markets including the US, UK and France, a HTC spokesperson confirmed that the company has no plans to launch the device in Australia at this stage.

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