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Facebook phone’s European release delayed

Graeme Parton

Facebook has decided to delay the European release of its new customised Android handset after the company received negative feedback in the U.S.

The First, which Facebook has developed with Taiwanese firm HTC, was released to tech fans in the U.S. last month. The phone comes pre-loaded with Home, the social media giant’s new android launcher software.

However, the reaction to Home hasn’t quite been as positive as Facebook expected, with American users showing particular disappointment. The idea of the software is to further integrate the user’s Facebook profile with their device to allow the easier consumption and sharing of content. This is achieved with a replacement home screen displaying a scrolling stream of status updates and images from the user’s news feed.

The handset’s UK release had been scheduled for the summer but the major carriers in Europe – Orange and EE – have been ordered to pause their launch campaigns indefinitely.

Talking about the delay, an EE spokesperson said:

“Following customer feedback, Facebook has decided to focus on adding new customisation features to Facebook Home over the coming months. While they are working to make a better Facebook Home experience, they have recommended holding off launching the HTC First in the UK.”

Although the carrier hadn’t yet made the HTC First available to pre-order, people had been given the chance to officially register interest in the handset. Those people are currently being contacted to be notified of the delay.

The release delay comes after the news that more than half of Home’s downloaders on the Google Play store had given the app one star out of five in their reviews, with many claiming it was overly simple and too intrusive.

Facebook is, however, no stranger to hiccups when it comes to major releases and updates. Changes in the past have been met with criticism at first, only for the site’s bosses to develop the new features to meet the users’ needs successfully. Many experts are expecting the social giant to come out even stronger, further increasing its dominance in the field.

Graeme has experience creating content for online sources and for the radio, and at university he studied Multimedia Journalism.

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