Rumor: AT&T To Discontinue The HTC First Facebook Phone

Posted: May 14, 2013 in Gadgets, GT, Mobile
Tags: , , ,

20130514-221720.jpg
HTC’s Facebook Home-laden First smartphone may
only have debuted on AT&T last month, but it
appears that the device may be a dud as far as
consumers are concerned. According to a report from
BGR’s Zach Epstein, sales of the HTC First
smartphone have been so disappointing that AT&T will soon be dropping the device from its lineup
completely and shipping all unsold inventory back to
HTC. If this report holds true (representatives from AT&T,
HTC, and Facebook have not responded to our
questions at time of writing), AT&T will continue to
sell the First until it fulfills its contractual obligations
to display the thing in its myriad retail stores. And just how bad was the First doing? Epstein
expounds a bit on Twitter, noting that the infinitely
lamer HTC Status sold more during its first month on
the market than the First did. That may not be the
most fair comparison to make considering that the
Status was HTC’s first foray into baking Facebook directly into an Android device (and in a time when
the Facebook Android app was markedly worse than
it is now), but there you have it. What’s also unclear
is what such a move would mean for the First in other
markets — HTC CEO Peter Chou noted at the
Facebook Home launch event that the device would be carried by France’s Orange and the UK’s EE later
this summer. To be quite honest, it’s not exactly a shock to hear
that the First hasn’t managed to whip the smartphone-
hungry masses into a frenzy. Less than a week ago,
AT&T slashed the on-contract price of the First from
$99 to a scant $0.99 — it seemed like a curious
move at the time given just how new the First was, but many took it as a signal that the sales situation
was dire. The real question here is what managed to
turn off consumers more: the First’s relatively modest
spec sheet, or its reliance on Facebook Home. If I
were a betting man, my money would be on the latter
considering the thorough drubbing that Facebook’s replacement launcher has received from reporters and
users alike and the fact that interest in Home as a
whole seems to be waning. We’re working to verify this rumor one way or the
other, but for now it’s best to take this whole thing
with a grain of salt. After all, it wouldn’t be the first
time a Facebook phone was erroneously thought to
be taking a dip in the deadpool.

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