Facebook Home downloads: When 1M is a small number

Having a million of anything seems like a daunting figure, but it's a drop in the bucket for Facebook's billion-people network.

Josh Miller/CNET

Facebook confirmed Thursday that Android users have downloaded its Facebook Home software suite just shy of a million times since the product's launch last month. While that's a whole lotta mobile users, it's a tiny number considering what's possible.

If you consider the number of Facebook users and the amount of Android devices sold, you get a massive network of potential Home users. The social network alone has more than 1 billion users on the site. That's a thousand times more than the number of Home downloads so far.

Then there's the sheer number of Android devices out there -- 144.7 million Android smartphones were sold in the fourth quarter, according to Gartner. Google said in April that 1.5 million Android devices are activated each day .

Of course, only a handful of Android smartphones from Samsung and HTC could actually download the skin, limiting the potential downloads. While they were among the most popular devices, including the Galaxy S3 and HTC One X, it's not representative of the entire base of Android users.

But, Maribel Lopez, an analyst at Lopez Research, said a million downloads is actually decent given the complexity of the download and setup process.

"Frankly, I'm surprised they did so well given that it's not easy for the average user to figure out how to do this, " she said.

Facebook Director of Product Adam Mosseri acknowledged this issue at a press conference Thursday.

In response, Facebook said it plans to add more educational features to help introduce the product to new users. The company is also working on a number of issues that users have identified as problematic, including the ability to organize and arrange apps.

"It's not really important to us," Mosseri said about the low number of downloads. "What's important to us is if people are liking the apps a lot."

Facebook did not share when these changes are coming, but it's in the company's best interest to act quickly and override the negative reviews Home's been getting so far.

Lopez said the future success of Home -- which is supposed to be Facebook's centerpiece product for Android -- will cast a long shadow on the company.

"This has huge implications for what it takes to be a real brand in 2015," Lopez said.

Executive Editor Roger Cheng contributed to this report.

 

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