According to one analyst, the HTC First is strugglinig to attract consumers. Photo: AFP / Josh Edelson
Early estimates suggest that the Facebook phone has failed to catch on but that there's clearly life in the Facebook Home app.
According to Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry, the HTC First, a smartphone whose main selling point is Facebook integration and which was launched to wild fanfare in April alongside the social media company's Facebook Home app, is struggling to attract consumers.
Chowdhry estimates that a mere 10,000 handsets have been sold since the HTC debuted on the AT&T network for $99 on a two-year contract and, as if to back up those figures, the network provider has just slashed the smartphone's price to 99 cents. In Chowdhry‘s opinion, its lack of success thus far is: "probably because it does not have a cool factor that many Facebook users go for." Indeed, strip away the software and all that's left is a mid-range handset that would be offered for free with a contract in the US or Europe.
When Mashable approached Facebook for a comment about the reduction, a company representative said, "We think this is a good move by AT&T." In fact Facebook is actively promoting the price cut. AT&T has also been quick to point out that the price drop is normal business practice and that a number of other high-profile devices are being similarly marketed by the network at the moment.
Meanwhile, the Facebook Home app seems to be a sleeper hit. It has passed the 1 million-download mark and this week also quietly and unofficially added support for the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy SIV, meaning that the app, which puts Facebook's social features front and center on Android devices, is now compatible with six handsets -- the aforementioned One and SIV and the Samsung Galaxy SIII, Samsung Galaxy Note II, HTC One X and HTC One X+.
Facebook claims that Facebook Home users access the site 25 percent more often than before and that the company has noticed a marked increase in daily comments and likes since the app's launch in April.