The First Real Facebook Phone Has Bombed

The first sign that Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  ) Home was crumbling appeared last week when exclusive carrier AT&T (NYSE: T  ) slashed the price of the HTC First to effectively free on contract, less than one month after the mid-range smartphone was launched. Sadly, the prospects for the First, the first phone with Facebook Home pre-installed out of the box, just got a little bit worse.

BGR is now reporting that AT&T is already planning to discontinue the First due to little to no interest over the past month, citing a "trusted source." Unit volumes were allegedly "shockingly bad" and Ma Bell has only moved a grand total of 15,000 units over the past month, including after its price was dropped to a whole $1 on contract. Unsold inventory is said to be heading back to the mothership, at which point those dusty units will become HTC's problem.

First sales were reportedly so bad that they make HTC ChaCha sales look good. The ChaCha was a previous collaboration in 2011 with the social network that featured a QWERTY keyboard and dedicated Facebook button. Realizing that ChaCha was a truly horrific name just asking to be forgotten and/or mocked, AT&T rebranded the device as the Status stateside. Facebook's presence on the Status was less prominent, and was mostly a relatively run-of-the-mill Android that featured Facebook integration in its nooks and crannies.

HTC Status. Source: AT&T.

Sources say that Ma Bell's sales reps aren't keen on Home or First, so they're nudging consumers toward higher-profile devices. Unsurprisingly, that inevitably refers to Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy S4, both of which promptly greet customers as soon as they enter an AT&T retail store. HTC has paid up for some display real estate for the First, and AT&T can't axe the device until this contract is fulfilled.

I was recently in an AT&T retail store, and my experience is in line with these sources. The iPhone 5, Galaxy S4, and HTC One were front and center, while the First's dedicated display is on the periphery. What's more troubling is that when wanting to play with the First to check out Home, I was prompted to input my personal Facebook login information in order to fully test drive Home. Unwilling to do so, I only got a small taste of Home's interface, which hardly sold me on anything.

Still, even though First and Home have bombed, the episode shows that Facebook is experimenting with new mobile strategies. The experiment will likely prove to be a cheap failure, and lay the foundation for the social network's next attempt. Eventually, it'll get the execution right.

After the world's most hyped IPO turned out to be a dud, many investors don't even want to think about shares of Facebook. But there are things every investor needs to know about this revolutionary company. The Motley Fool's newest premium research report shows that there's a lot more to Facebook than meets the eye. Read up on whether there is anything to "like" about it today to determine if Facebook deserves a place in your portfolio. Access your report by clicking here.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2427350, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 10/1/2016 4:39:40 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 19 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,308.15 164.70 0.91%
S&P 500 2,168.27 17.14 0.80%
NASD 5,312.00 42.85 0.81%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/30/2016 4:00 PM
FB $128.27 Up +0.18 +0.14%
Facebook CAPS Rating: ***
AAPL $113.05 Up +0.87 +0.78%
Apple CAPS Rating: ****
T $40.61 Down -0.12 -0.29%
AT and T CAPS Rating: ****