HTC First, the "Facebook phone", reportedly killed off by AT&T

Just over five weeks ago, Facebook and HTC jointly announced the HTC First, a handset built around Facebook's social network and services. The device was the launchpad for the new Facebook Home user experience, essentially a skin on top of the Android OS, designed to make access to Facebook's services more prominent and easier to engage with. 

The arrival of the device was greeted with much scepticism from those who questioned its usefulness, and whether there would be any demand for such a handset. The First was launched with an upfront cost of $99 on a two-year contract, but its relatively modest specs - especially compared with many similarly priced devices - made it a tough sell.

Indeed, AT&T, the carrier launch partner for the First, found it so tough to sell the handsets that it quickly dropped the price to just $0.99. It now appears that even that price was too high for smartphone buyers, as BGR reports that AT&T has decided to call it quits and plans to discontinue sales of the First. 

According to BGR's "trusted source", sales figures for the First have been appalling. Even after the price reduction to $0.99, it's said that AT&T sold fewer than 15,000 of the handsets across the United States in an entire week. 

Contractual obligations mean that the First won't be removed from shelves immediately; HTC has already paid for in-store considerations and display space for a set amount of time, and until that period has expired, AT&T won't simply be able to pluck the First from its stores. That said, the source behind the claims states that AT&T staff have no love for either the First or Facebook Home; without sales staff who believe in and support the product, the handset will have had little hope of selling in significant numbers.

Facebook Home has been made available on other devices, and with the apparent failure of the HTC First, it seems that this is the only future that Home now has to look forward to. But despite relative success in terms of download numbers - 500,000 downloads were recorded from the Google Play store in just five days - users haven't exactly warmed to it. With an average rating of just 2.2 out of 5, well over 50% of reviews have given Facebook Home just 1 star. 

Source: BGR | Handset image via HTC

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft: Only 47 percent of people try to protect their privacy online

Next Story

Skype for Windows Phone 8/7.5 updated; still no video messaging

30 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

It doesn't matter what happens to Facebook anymore. The people behind it walk away with boat loads of cash. They are milking it while they can but they'll just as well move on to the next stage in their lives all the same.

The reason this phone will always fail, as did the previous one; is the fact all the platforms have an app for facebook and you can always load it n the web browser. Why do you need a phone? Facebook Home as a launcher is also lame.

We dont need that much Facebook, that it needs a phone.

Eh...buy it for cheap and disable Facebook home on it and you have a midish range phone running vanilla android.

no wonder HTC is hurting. cant come up with an original product, its always gimmicks and copying,and lack of support.

vcfan said,
cant come up with an original product, its always gimmicks and copying,and lack of support.

Sounds more like another company that you are consistently seen on here loving and supporting with an unbridled arrogance despite their proven track record of treating their cash paying customers with pure hatred and contempt.

Color me not surprised at all. Just another bad idea by smart people with lots of money attempting to shine a turd.

ahinson said,
Color me not surprised at all. Just another bad idea by smart people with lots of money attempting to shine a turd.

LOL!

Can't say as I'm surprised. Anything developed by Facebook (Other than the site itself, which they're destroying) turns to crap...

It doesn't make sense to tie a phone to a single social network anyway. All this does is point out how WP's way of integration was far better handled.

Facebook simply isn't that cool anymore. Everybody continues to use it but that doesn't mean they think it's cool. Like most products consumers use they use it because everyone uses it. I do think people like the services facebook provides but making facebook the centre of the phone experience isn't an attractive proposition.

I think Facebook should look at how Windows Phone integrates social features into the OS. It's there when you need it but its not in your face. Something like that could be a useful addition to Android as well.

Dumb idea and a dumb phone to go with it. What did they really expect? There are some dumb people out there who live in a Facebook reality distortion field but even that group of people is obviously not enough to make this a success...

Obry said,
Dumb idea and a dumb phone to go with it. What did they really expect? There are some dumb people out there who live in a Facebook reality distortion field but even that group of people is obviously not enough to make this a success...

It's also not the first time HTC has made a "facebook" phone...look up the ChaCha and the Salsa.

Guess they didn't learn from the past...

-Razorfold said,

It's also not the first time HTC has made a "facebook" phone...look up the ChaCha and the Salsa.

Guess they didn't learn from the past...

Yes, clearly this phone intended to follow in that distinguished line of successes... LOL

Particularly a dumb idea when you are going to provide the same experience available for free to other phones and that to simultaneously. Pretty dumb!

Just watch the video and how can a 4.3 inch screen a con? Anything over 4.5 inches is too big in my hands. But that's my thoughts on the matter. Not an android fan anyway nor this facebook interface. Looks like but I love my Windows Phone 8. Wish they have more apps like iHeartRadio.

ACTIONpack said,
Just watch the video and how can a 4.3 inch screen a con? Anything over 4.5 inches is too big in my hands. But that's my thoughts on the matter. Not an android fan anyway nor this facebook interface. Looks like but I love my Windows Phone 8. Wish they have more apps like iHeartRadio.

The weird thing about opinions on screen dimensions is that they largely reflect the size of the screen currently used by each individual.

When the first EVO launched, and for a long while following, iPhone users guffawed at the large screen as an ungainly, unusable waste. Any screen 4" and up was overkill and so much real estate was only necessary on a platform that didn't know how to properly design its software.

The Galaxy S2 standardized 4.x" screens so thoroughly, though, that the 3.x" generation (including the iPhone) looked childish and claustrophobic. It was now the 5.x" screens alone left with the criticisms.

So really, it all comes down to what you use. I also snorted at the sight of the first Galaxy Note, but now own a Note 2. Is it too big? Yeah, I think so. It's a little difficult to use in certain scenarios, but it's astonishingly comfortable, and I've become accustomed to the size of the screen from a usability standpoint. I'm pretty certain that anything below 4.7" would be downright uncomfortable for me.

kaizad1993 said,
Probably the biggest phone failure I've heard of after the kin!

And that's saying something after how poorly Verizon handled that release!

kaizad1993 said,
Probably the biggest phone failure I've heard of after the kin!

People can say what they want about the Kin, but I really enjoyed The Spot. Drag whatever you wanted to share into that sucker and bam!