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Rumor: AT&T Dumping the HTC First Facebook Phone

By - Source: BGR | B 10 comments

Poor sales have reportedly led to a surprising $0.99 new-contract price and a possible discontinuation for the HTC First.

BGR reports that AT&T may discontinue the HTC First "Facebook Phone" after just over a month on the market.

Signs of a possible demise arrived last week after the company dropped the phone's price from $99 to $0.99 with a new two-year contract. The carrier also reduced the off-contract price from $450 to $350 USD. Now a supposed "trusted source" has confirmed with BGR that sales of the HTC First have been so "shockingly bad" that AT&T has decided to discontinue the phone on its network altogether.

Another source has also confirmed the initial report, adding that all unsold inventory will be returned to HTC. Currently, the number of unsold units is unknown, but AT&T reportedly only sold fewer than 15,000 units nationwide up until the end of last week despite the drop in price.

The unnamed sources also said that AT&T sales representatives do not like the Facebook Home Android launcher or the actual First phone itself, and are doing very little to sell the handset to customers. It's likely AT&T dropped the device down to less than a buck in order to push units out the door before HTC's in-store display contract expires. The phone maker paid to reserve display space for the Facebook phone for a certain amount of time, and AT&T cannot pull the device until that contract expires.

The HTC First is the "first" smartphone to ship with Facebook Home pre-installed. It's essentially a custom Android launcher that replaces the stock Home screen. It's currently incompatible with nearly every Android device on the market save for the Samsung Galaxy S III, Samsung Galaxy Note II, HTC One X and HTC One X+. The average rating on Google Play is two out of five stars, more than half of which are one-star ratings.

Could the phone itself still be salvaged? It has a decent list of hardware including a 4.3-inch screen, a dual-core Snapdragon S4 Plus clocked at 1.4 GHz, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, a 5 MP camera on the back, a 1.6 MP camera on the front, dual-band Wireless N and Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity, Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean" and more. However, there's no microSD card slot for expanding the capacity or HDMI output for displaying content on an HDTV.

Currently, the demise of AT&T's HTC First is just a rumor, so take it with a grain of salt. But sources claim that sales have been even worse than the Blackberry Curve-like HTC ChaCha (aka Status here in the States) launched back in June 2011, another Facebook Phone thanks to a dedicated Facebook button planted below the keyboard. Sales were so slow that it sparked rumors about a possible discontinuation on AT&T's network.

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  • 6 Hide
    nevilence , May 13, 2013 6:05 PM
    I get enough rubbish in my feed from facebook app, why would I want a phone that would likely start advertising to me on my home screen too, stuff that, rubbish idea to start with.
  • 2 Hide
    unksol , May 13, 2013 6:28 PM
    I honestly can't believe HTC agreed to make this phone. They already were in a bad place, but came out swinging with the One. why would they want to associate themselves with a doomed from the start, horrible product?
    For that matter why would ATT?
  • 3 Hide
    DRosencraft , May 13, 2013 7:37 PM
    I honestly can't believe HTC agreed to make this phone. They already were in a bad place, but came out swinging with the One. why would they want to associate themselves with a doomed from the start, horrible product?
    For that matter why would ATT?

    Because Facebook has a huge base of registered users that everyone is desperate to make money off of. Heck, Facebook's IPO price was entirely based on the thought that the company could find a way to monetize that huge base of users through ads, micro-transactions and the like. Mind you, Facebook hasn't come close to getting back to that IPO price. You've got quite a few companies out there who will jump at anything Facebook in the hopes that so many people want to use Facebook they'll just scoop these things up. It seems everyone keeps overestimating Facebook.
  • Display all 10 comments.
  • 3 Hide
    hp79 , May 13, 2013 7:58 PM
    This phone should cost $200 without contract. Only then, it might do well because it can switch to stock Android home instead of FagBook.
  • 4 Hide
    Stardude82 , May 13, 2013 9:42 PM
    I actually picked one up today. It has great specs compared to the other budget phones AT&T is hocking. It has a 720p screen! Disabling Facebook home took all of two touches. If you can live without HDMI out, 16 GB of memory and a non-removable battery (which is sadly par for the course now), its a great small phone.
  • 0 Hide
    house70 , May 14, 2013 4:16 AM
    Facebook tried to pull a "Windows Metro" move and failed miserably.
    The hardware itself is decent for an average phone (still beats the iPhone, LOL), but instead of making the FB Launcher an option that users could launch, they slapped it in front of the well-known Android JB interface. People walk in the store, press the button, see some unfamiliar/weird stuff and move on.
    Besides, what kind of launcher is that, it works only with a handful of phones? Really?
    TBH, if the BF Android app was any indication, this flop was expected. There are no Android coders at FB.
  • 0 Hide
    acadia11 , May 14, 2013 4:16 AM
    My blackberry z10 sports 80gb, and it's battery comes out. Gestures based OS is the future. This phone rocks! Facebook home is a stupid concept that's why it failed.
  • 0 Hide
    g00fysmiley , May 14, 2013 5:28 AM
    how are those decent specs? no expandable memory and only 16 gigs, s4 dual core and a gig of ram, those were decent specs a year and a half ago
  • 0 Hide
    mobrocket , May 14, 2013 5:29 AM
    This is 2013. Low budget smart phones are pointless when u can get last gen smartphones which are better for the same price.
  • 0 Hide
    spentshells , May 14, 2013 7:09 AM
    Decent hardware though, facebook is on it's way out in the next few years.