May 09, 2013, 2:42 PM — Facebook has attracted "just about" 1 million downloads of its Home application in its first month of availability.
The app, which takes the place of the home screen on supported devices, puts Facebook much more at the center of the phone. Rather than an app launch or home screen appearing when a phone is woken from sleep, the user sees the Facebook Home screen and pictures and updates from their friends.
"That's very much in line with our expectations for the launch," said Cory Ondrejka, director of mobile engineering at Facebook, during a briefing for reporters. "We thought that was a large enough number to start getting data."
The users are typically early adopters who have specifically searched the Android Play Store to find the app, said the company. Facebook isn't currently using its main app to promote Home, but word has spread via the social network.
Putting Facebook updates in front of users has led to a 25 percent increase in the amount of time they spend using Facebook, Ondrejka said.
"Facebook is already the most-used app on mobile devices, so being able to bump that is something we are very excited about," he said.
A new version of Facebook Home will launch Thursday, along with the latest version of the Facebook app.
The latest version of the software addresses bugs, but Facebook is working on subsequent versions that will address feedback and complaints from those first million users. They include a new way to launch non-Facebook apps and an easier way to initiate chats.
Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is email@example.com