5/9/2013 2:57 PM ET|
Facebook phone kicked to 99-cent bargain bin
With consumers failing to 'like' the device, AT&T is offering the Mark Zuckerberg brainchild at dollar-store prices.
As it turns out, consumers aren't falling over themselves to "like" the HTC First phone, which has been shunted to the bargain bin after a mere five weeks on the market. AT&T (T) is selling the phone for 99 cents, marked down from the original $350, when bought with a two-year contract. (AT&T publishes the phone's original price at $350, although other sites say it was selling for $99.)
The phone was introduced last month after rumors that the social media giant would venture into mobile devices, given its desire to book more mobile ad dollars.
The phone includes a Facebook home screen that allows users to tap into their feeds and friends' updates and to start commenting. It also promoted the service's Chat Heads, those bubble-headed icons of your friends that alert you to a new message.
But the device received mediocre reviews, with CNET calling it a "forgettable handset, from midrange camera hardware to its utilitarian design." Techradar rather hilariously said the phone was "great once you dial back all that Facebook."
HTC declined to disclose the sales figures for the device when it reported results earlier this month, according to CNET. Anecdotal evidence suggests the phone isn't catching on, the tech site notes. AT&T told CNET that the carrier often offers such price promotions.
The phone was aimed at helping Facebook take over mobile screens from Google (GOOG), whose executives may be having a good laugh over the clearance-level price.
With its apparent failure to draw in consumers, Facebook now has another battle ahead of it: to convince other mobile device companies that its network is worth putting front and center.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
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