HTC First ‘Facebook Phone’ Reportedly Being Pulled, TMO ‘Shocked’

| Editorial

Shocked, we say. Shocked. We are utterly shocked*. Sales of the HTC First—the so-called "Facebook Phone—have reportedly been so bad that AT&T is ready to kill it. The device was announced on April 4th, but according to BGR, AT&T has sold just 15,000 units and is ready to pull the plug.

Shocked!

TMO's Dramatic Reenactment of Reading This News

The HTC First comes pre-installed with Facebook Home, an app that essentially turns your Android device into a dedicated vehicle for Facebook. It takes over your home screen, providing users with pervasive access to Facebook status updates, services, messages, email, and eventually ads.

Announced at US$99 with a two year contract, AT&T cut the price to $0.99 just a couple of weeks after it shipped, but that apparently wasn't enough to goose sales.

While Facebook Home works on the HTC One, HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, and Galaxy Note II, the HTC First was designed to be a vehicle for Facebook Home. Rumors had swirled in advance of the Facebook Home announcement that the social networking giant was releasing its own phone, but it was the HTC First that got announced instead.

Technically still an Android device, the HTC First's Facebook Home-centricity was—and again, we beg your indulgence to allow us to stress how shocked we are—not appealing to real people.

That said, please note that there are 15,000 people in the U.S. who looked at this thing and said, giddyup!

15,000 of them. Chances are, someone you know knows someone who swears that he read about this girl who heard of a guy who actually uses it in the wild.

Shocked!We're Still Shocked

BGR said that AT&T doesn't care for Facebook Home or the HTC First, and that the company has been doing little in the way of lifting a finger to sell the device. We wonder if that would have mattered in the long run. Be that as it may, the site said that it had confirmed the news that AT&T was ready to pull it with unnamed sources, through neither HTC nor AT&T acknowledged this was the case.

We understand that there are many people out there who like the idea of Facebook Home. We know of iPhone users who would like it on their iPhones, something that's not likely to happen in the same form as the Android version, if at all.

There is a difference between users choosing to download Home to try it with the option of nuking it later and users buying a device that is theoretically devoted to one thing, being on Facebook. Home as an optional service has a lot of potential, but American consumers were apparently not interested in tying themselves to Facebook on their smartphone...

...giving us a little hope for the future.

*And by shocked, we mean that we are in no way surprised.

Thanks to Shutterstock for help and help with the images.

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8 Comments Leave Your Own

palenoue

And all of those unsold units will still be used to inflate Android’s “market share” numbers.

Unbias

Umm…the phone blew, but android#s are actualy based off activations….to bash it for being a bad/cheap phone and activated + counting towards mkt share is one thing, but to say it is unsold is flat out wrong (regarding the market share).

John Dingler, artist

Hi Brian,
Ha ha ha!

I am surprised that you avoided comparing the very low appeal of the HTC One to very low appeal Microsoft’s KIN phone dedicated (I believe) to music; In each case, as you imply, people were/are unwilling to buy a device tied to a specific, what, goal/feature?

b9bot

It is features that people are looking for in a phone. Facebook is certainly not one of them to be a key feature for a phone.  The KIN was the same so it deserves to be compared to the HTC One as it had no features that anyone wanted in a phone either.

xmattingly

I don’t think anyone is surprised at all, though I’m a little surprised that they pulled the plug that fast. The hilarious thing to me is that they couldn’t give these things away, though. smile Compare that to HP’s unremarkable tablet, which finally sold like hotcakes when they slashed the price to $99.

aardman

Who would want to carry around a phone that instantly identifies the owner as a person who has no life?  Facebook is not as beloved as they think they are.  Die, Facebook, die!

thoughtful

There is some confusion in the comments.  The HTC First is the Facebook phone that appears to have limited appeal.  The HTC One is a very advanced phone that is apparently in pretty high demand right now.

Kevin Smart

@b9bot A phone is hardly “free” if it requires a contract.  The fee for the subsidy is typically around $20/month, so a two year contract for a “free” phone costs $480.

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