Emerging Technology

Return to sender: AT&T looking to discontinue HTC’s Facebook phone after just 15,000 sold

Andrew Sadauskas /

The HTC First, a smartphone that uses the Facebook Home launcher by default, is set to be discontinued, according to reports.

Last week, SmartCompany reported the US telecommunications giant had slashed the price it charges for the much-hyped smartphone to just 99 cents on a 24-month contract.

“With that one slash of the knife, AT&T has confirmed what everyone had already gathered; the Facebook phone is proving very unpopular,” independent smartphone industry analyst Richard Windsor said.

“If this was an isolated incident, then one could put it down to poor hardware, but installations and reviews of the software on other devices have also been poor.”

According to BGR, the smartphone had sold just 15,000 units nationwide before the price cut.

While HTC has reserved advertising display space in AT&T’s stores, sales have been so weak that once the in-store display contract expires, AT&T will return all remaining unsold inventory back to HTC and discontinue the device.

The smartphone had been launched in April by HTC for an initial asking price of $US99 on a contract, with the carrier initially holding out high hopes for the new smartphone.

“The HTC First will offer the best Facebook Home experience on mobile, right out of the box. That’s why we’re committed to this phone and making it exclusive in our stores,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility.

“HTC has a track record of providing beautiful hardware design, and of being first-to-market with smartphone innovations,” said HTC chief executive Peter Chou.

If the report is accurate, it certainly marks an inauspicious end to a long-awaited and highly hyped device in the Facebook Phone and calls into question the company’s Facebook Home strategy.

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Andrew Sadauskas

Andrew Sadauskas is a former journalist at SmartCompany and a former editor of TechCompany.

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