A week after its release onto the Google Play Store, Facebook Home has been downloaded more than 500 000 times.
That’s not the best start for a company with a user base of over a billion people. Then again, it took a few days for the app to go global and it’s still rolling out to a number of Android devices.
Still, Home hasn’t exactly received the warmest of receptions since it went live. The app has a paltry two and a half star rating on the Google Play store with some calling it clunky and unintuitive, especially in comparison to other launchers.
That combination of low device compatibility and disappointing reviews may well come back to haunt Facebook. It’s reasoning is understandable. It wants to iron out any bugs, make sure it rolls out the best possible product to all the supported devices in the fragmented Android ecosystem. Here’s the problem though: it hasn’t. And by failing to launch on a large number of devices, it’s failed to capitalise on any excitement around the launch.
By way of comparison, when Instagram launched on the Play Store, it was downloaded over five-million times in just six days.
Yes, Home is more complicated than Instagram. It has to do more. But surely if Facebook had waited until the product was ready, until it could launch on more devices, it could’ve capitalised better on the hype. After all, this is Facebook’s big mobile play. It badly needs Home to work and, if it’s going to succeed, it has to do a lot of work to make sure the gamble pays off.