HTC’s Facebook Phone Flops, AT&T to Pull the Plug?


Facebook’s entry into the mobile phone market with the HTC First has turned out to be a colossal flop. It’s such a failure that even after AT&T dropped the price by 99 percent to just 99 cents last week, it may still not have been enough to save the social media giant’s debut smartphone.

Barely more than a month after Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg rounded up journalists to promote HTC First alongside Facebook Home, BGR reports that AT&T is discontinuing sales of the phone and returning its remaining inventory back to HTC. Their source said that despite a huge advertising campaign, AT&T has only sold 15,000 units right up to last week, when the mobile phone carrier slashed the smartphone’s price to mere pennies.

However, an unnamed spokesperson for AT&T could not confirm to CNet that it would drop the HTC First, saying that they have pricing promotions on a regular basis and added: “I am not aware of any discussion ever taking place about sending the phones back or to stop selling the First.”

Released in April, the HTC First is the first smartphone that includes Facebook Home, an app for the Android that would put status updates and photos front in the home and lock screens. During the press conference promoting Facebook Home and the HTC First, Zuckerberg described how these innovations would change the purpose of smartphones: “Today, our phones are designed around apps and not people. We want to flip that around.”

So far, CNet reports that Facebook Home has been downloaded between 500,000-1 million times since its release, a small percentage of the 1 billion plus users on Facebook. Reviews for the Facebook Home platform have been mediocre, with the average rating on Google Play at 2.2. Common complaints about Facebook Home are that it makes the smartphone less useful when it’s running and makes it hard to access other Android apps quickly.

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