HTC First, aka the “Facebook phone” to be cut?
Commonly referred to as the “Facebook Phone,” the HTC First launched in April marking a partnership between AT&T and Facebook, already rumored to be at an end after sales reportedly fail to approach company goals, moving less than 15,000 units compared to the five million iPhone 5 devices sold in the first three days it was on the market. Perhaps an unfair comparison as the iPhone is an established devices and user interface, but it still serves as a point of contrast.
The HTC First comes with Facebook Home pre-installed, an app that replaces Android’s homescreen and lock screen with Facebook photos, notifications, and status updates, which many believed would promote sales of the new device, but it appears to have fallen short. Zach Epstein at BGR reports that AT&T is preparing to discontinue the HTC First and that the remaining devices will be shipped back to AT&T.
Some say the writing was on the wall, as AT&T dropped the HTC First from an already low $99 to $0.99 when signing a contract with the carrier, and even practically giving the device away failed to stimulate sales. Then again, with the negative attention afforded it today, some people may just think a free-ish phone is worth getting used to Facebook Home.
Critics say Facebook Home may ultimately fail unless it has a dedicated device, while it can also be pointed out that the world didn’t exactly adopt Facebook itself overnight. Maybe looking at one month worth of sales is unjust? But then again, maybe at the pace of today’s technologies, it is not. If AT&T employees don’t like (or understand?) Facebook Home and are struggling to vouch for it on a device, how can anyone expect mainstream users to adopt the homescreen replacement?
AT&T asserts to various outlets that they have made not decision yet, but most tech analysts believe this to be a failed experiment that should be cut before anymore resources are devoted to it.