Is Facebook Home an Epic Fail?

Amid reports of declining interest, declining sales of phones with the pre-installed Home and a minuscule number of overall downloads, it is not a stretch to call Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) app a failure. While there’s still plenty of time for Facebook Home to make its presence felt in the mobile universe, it might need a different presentation to make it happen.

A stat roundup by Tech Crunch provides some revealing data when looking at the raw numbers of Home’s performance. Home has not been able to stay in the top 100 apps for any market in the world. Worse yet, it failed to stay in the top 500 in countries such as France, Germany, Brazil and Argentina. Being beaten up in these key markets is an unexpected fate for the app CEO Mark Zuckerberg called “the next version of Facebook.”

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On the bright side, the amount of time spent on Facebook did increase among users of Home. Figures show users with Home using the social media site 25 percent more than they were previously, with data showing comments and “likes” up 25 percent among those using Home. Getting people to download the Home app would appear to be the priority. To that end, Facebook and HTC are trying to get the phones with Home as the “skin” in the hands of more users. They have slashed the prices on the HTC First.

Once $99 with contract, the HTC First is now basically free ($0.99) with a two-year wireless plan, while the price of the phone without a contract has dropped from $450 to $350. That move should get the phones in more users’ hands and push the number up from the estimated 1 million people who have downloaded the app. For a site that has over 1 billion users, that is a one-tenth of one percent download rate.

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To Home’s credit (or detriment, depending on the angle), there were only a limited number of phones that had the capability of downloading the app: two by HTC and two by Samsung, not including the HTC First. To make a dent in the U.S. and markets around the world, Facebook will need to both improve Home’s performance and expand the number of phones able to use its new app. For now, the numbers indicate Home is at best a flop.

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