The First Update
I have a big interest in the HTC First, not for Facebook, but for stock Android on an ideally sized phone with LTE. The form factor and screen are right, speed feels fast enough for today (snappier than a Galaxy Nexus actually), and I think I'd survive with the camera (seems to match the Galaxy Nexus) - but I'm not entirely sold.
NOT EXACTLY COMFORTING
The only thing holding me back at this point is wondering how often it will be updated. It's already behind on 4.1. I reached out to HTC support and they said:
For this specific device, all the updates will be at the carrier's discretion which is AT&T, as well up to Facebook as the main interface is based on their social network, therefore, I advise you to check with them to get a notion on the estimated time frame for updates.
Not exactly comforting. Reports said Facebook planned monthly updates to Facebook Home. Since this is only running on devices with 4.1, I'm wondering if one of the first updates will bring it up to 4.2 and expand Home to Nexus devices (which all could be running Key Lime Pie (or Jelly Bean 4.3) in a few short weeks) and new phones such as the S4 and One. If that's the case, is the First destined to be one step behind its stock brethren?
If KLP brings significant improvements to speed or battery life, it would probably be a shoe-in for Facebook to update. Otherwise, I could see them being totally driven by demand, waiting for flagship devices to support KLP before supporting it themselves. This could take months, as the first likely flagship would be the Note 3 in September.
DOES IT REALLY MATTER?
In the grand scheme, does it really matter? Depending on what I/O brings, 4.2 is pretty great. Knowing that KLP will eventually be coming could perhaps be enough for purists wanting a 4" device with LTE and no requirements for ROMs. Maybe the bigger question for most will be, can you deal with fuzzy pictures for another 2 years? If so, steal First.