KakaoHome, the Facebook Home-style Android application from Korea’s top messaging company Kakao, is seeing impressive uptake after passing 500,000 downloads nine days after its launch last week. That’s actually quicker than the 10 days it took Facebook Home to reach the same number.
The milestone — listed on its Google Play page – is pretty impressive considering it is only available in Korea, and it follows a jump in downloads after the app was promoted via the Kakao Talk and Kakao Story apps this week. KakaoHome adopts a Facebook Home style approach, giving users more visible notifications, quick replies, various Kakao-branded widgets and a deeper integration than the regular chat app offers.
The Kakao Talk service has 90 million registered users worldwide, but it remains strongest in Korea. There, the company says it is installed on more than 90 percent of smartphones, of which 90 percent are Android-powered. That’s pretty solid ground for an Android launcher and early adopters seem pleased; the app has an average rating of 4.1, a vast improvement on Facebook Home’s current score of 2.3.
As is the case with Facebook Home, it is not clear just how many of those who downloaded the Kakao app are regular users.
The service is available for all smartphones in Korea that run Android 4.0 or upwards, which has helped it overcome the device support issues Facebook has run into. Nonetheless, the world’s biggest social network says that Home — which is now past 1 million downloads — has boosted the engagement of users by 25 percent on average.
Kakao is aiming to increase its international standing, having inked a deal with Evernote, but global users shouldn’t expect to see KakaoHome in their markets for some time. Last week, the firm told TNW it has no initial plans to launch it outside of Korea.
While the two services are coming from different angles — one is worldwide but limited to certain devices, the other limited to one market but open to numerous devices — KakaoHome’s quicker adoption is likely a greater indicator of Facebook Home’s early issues. With wider support for devices under its belt, Facebook will hope downloads will pick up.
Headline image via TNW, screenshot via The Verge