Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Android Facebook

Facebook Home Flagship Phone, HTC First, May Be Discontinued 192

Posted by samzenpus
from the end-of-the-line dept.
zacharye writes "The HTC First, or 'Facebook phone' as many prefer to call it, is officially a flop. It certainly wasn't a good sign when AT&T dropped the price of HTC's First to $0.99 just one month after its debut, and now BGR has confirmed that HTC and Facebook's little experiment is nearing its end. BGR has learned from a trusted source that sales of the HTC First have been shockingly bad. So bad, in fact, that AT&T has already decided to discontinue the phone. Our source at AT&T has confirmed that the HTC First, which is the first smartphone to ship with Facebook Home pre-installed, will soon be discontinued and unsold inventory will be returned to HTC. How much unsold inventory is there? We don’t have an exact figure, but things aren’t looking good. According to our source, AT&T sold fewer than 15,000 units nationwide through last week when the phone’s price was slashed to $0.99."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Facebook Home Flagship Phone, HTC First, May Be Discontinued

Comments Filter:
  • by HornWumpus (783565) on Monday May 13, 2013 @04:14PM (#43713727)

    They should have charged extra and made them sign up for a waiting list.

    • by guises (2423402)
      I laughed, but this is sadly true. People seem to love being exploited if it means they'll feel just a little bit special for having the newest thing.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by crutchy (1949900)

        not everyone's phone gets discontinued so quickly... they should feel special

      • by technomom (444378)

        People don't mind being exploited if you give away stuff in exchange for being exploited. Google gives away very good services for email, calendaring, mapping, news consolidation, search, etc. and oh yeah, a mobile OS!

        Just being made to feel special isn't enough, as Facebook is starting to find out.

      • by Dishevel (1105119)

        The 15,000 people who bought this phone are "special"

    • Before that, they should have made ten, zuckerberg should have bought all of them before they were made. They should announce that it sold out in record time, and that demand vastly exceeded what they could make, but fortunately the second model will be coming out soon.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I thought that the Facebook phone would have been the ultimate iPhone killer. It is, after all, the social media age and Facebook integration should have ensured success.

    • Re:Unbelievable. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by alen (225700) on Monday May 13, 2013 @04:19PM (#43713771)

      its not samsung

      the smartphone market is Apple and Samsung control more than 95% of the market. everyone else is table scraps

    • Re:Unbelievable. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Monday May 13, 2013 @04:25PM (#43713847) Journal

      Every phone is already integrated into facebook to a certain degree. If this were the only phone to ever allow you to see or update facebook, then yes it would be a smashing success. However, it is not. Even the marquee feature of the the "facebook home launcher" is available on other phones. There is nothing the phone can do that others can not.

    • Re:Unbelievable. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WillKemp (1338605) on Monday May 13, 2013 @04:36PM (#43713959) Homepage

      Everybody hates Facebook - they only use it because everyone else does and they have to use it to keep in touch.

      • by Taco Cowboy (5327)

        Everybody hates Facebook - they only use it because everyone else does and they have to use it to keep in touch

        I won't say everybody hates Facebook

        I do not hate Facebook, but that does not translate to mean I have to use Facebook

        I do not

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        Everybody hates Facebook - they only use it because everyone else does and they have to use it to keep in touch.

        The last time I checked, no government in the world had made signing up for facebook a legal requirement.

        To say you're a follower of fashion then moan about people following fashion is...illogical.

    • And they laughed at me when I warned them about buying facebook stock...
  • Color me surprised. [thenextweb.com]

  • Even the BlinkFeed missed it, it came and went so fast.
    • Even the BlinkFeed missed it, it came and went so fast.

      Who? I'm sorry, I'm not surgically attached to Internet Blogs...

  • by dcollins (135727) on Monday May 13, 2013 @04:24PM (#43713829) Homepage

    The Facebook phone flops like few phones have ever flopped. Zuckerberg's lobbying group is collapsing like few lobbying groups have ever collapsed (http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/12/why-zuckerbergs-lobby-fwd-is-collapsing-like-a-house-of-cards-outside-of-dc/).

    Many of us are stuck with Facebook due its powerful networking effects (much like AT&T in the old days). But still the FB brand is renowned as being member-abusive, terrible about privacy, cavalier about interface changes and wiping out settings, etc. Perhaps this is a sign that few people are interested in letting FB expand its grip on their lives.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't have facebook and I network just fine, you know by talking to people and shit. About the only people who ask me about facebook are women, and I just get an "oh" back when I say I don't have one.

      So, in conclusion: facebook is for 13 year olds, family, and posers (I went to the bar last night check out how badass I am). None of my family uses it making it a complete waste of time.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If Facebook actually did anything useful, I'd see the point in signing up. As it is, it's just a way to harvest marketing data without providing anything in return that is actually useful. Its UI is horrible, the function it serves is nonexistent, the company is abusive, and the CEO is hostile.

        The emperor has been going full monty for several years now.

        • I never got the appeal -- it was just MySpace with access control for your friends. Hence it took off as "safer" for students.

          • Because you could connect with classmates that you didn't necessarily know. There was a good 18-month period where FB was very useful for setting up study sessions and whatnot.

            (Also, you could find out if that redhead two rows down was single)

            • by tehcyder (746570)

              Because you could connect with classmates that you didn't necessarily know. There was a good 18-month period where FB was very useful for setting up study sessions and whatnot.

              Maybe US colleges are different than here in the UK, but how fucking difficult is it to talk to people in your class? Out of all the times in your life, college is where it's easiest to meet new people.

              Christ knows what you were like when you started working, did you literally never talk to any of your colleagues except over the internet? Even if they were sitting next to you?

      • by jez9999 (618189)

        I don't have facebook and I network just fine, you know by talking to people and shit.

        And even talking to shit is probably optional.

    • by Nemyst (1383049) on Monday May 13, 2013 @04:59PM (#43714171) Homepage
      The way I see it, the facebook brand is in a similiar position to the Windows brand. They're popular in the sense that they're ubiquitous, but not in the sense that they elicit passion. Unlike, for instance, Apple, you won't see "facebook fanboys" who'll defend the site to the death. It's used because just about everyone knows someone on it (as you said, the networking effects), but not because it has any particular strength or marketing genius.

      The question you need to ask yourself is that if all of a sudden facebook was replaced by another website fulfilling similar/identical needs, would people care? I think not. If you asked the same for Apple, though, I think a lot of people would cry out at their iDevices being taken away. That, right there, is brand power.
    • by fermion (181285)
      Except for Kin, and I doubt facebook spent a billion developing the phone. Failed phones are not uncommon. Facebook better spend it capital figuring out how it is going to survive the next five years. If not a phone, then something.

      It is not uncommon for lobbying group, particularly new groups with little political expertise, to flop. Even groups that should be politically savvy, such as Freedomworks, which got almost no one elected during the last cycle, can be flops, though well funded as they provi

    • I don't think Facebook itself is a toxic brand, I just thing people didn't want a phone that was kind of "Facebook all the time".

      I can think of one phone that flopped as hard as the Facebook phone - the Rokr. That thing was a disaster too, but it didn't mean either Motorola or Apple had bad brands. Just the implementation of that one phone was poor.

      I think Home will do better after Facebook figures out how to dial it back away from 11. But they probably will not be doing custom hardware anytime soon.

  • Is it normal for a contract between a carrier and an OEM to be structured such that unsold inventory would be sent back to the OEM?

    Logistically, that seems like it would be pretty wasteful(especially since there presumably exists an 'Android-base-build' firmware that HTC put together before adding 'Home' on, so they could push that over the internet and convert the units in the field into perfectly servicable stock-Android handsets, in about the time it takes AT&T sales to sell an overpriced case and in

    • Is it normal for a contract between a carrier and an OEM to be structured such that unsold inventory would be sent back to the OEM?

      Isn't that pretty much how auto dealerships work?

    • by slew (2918) on Monday May 13, 2013 @08:30PM (#43715819)

      Is it normal for the carrier to not outright buy the phone until they sell it?

      I don't know about phones, but in the distribution world, it is very common for a reseller to not actually buy a product before it is sold.

      Many companies these days work on a virtual inventory basis with their primary supply chain. The basic idea is that the seller of the product effectively leases space in the warehouse to the supplier with a contract such that the supplier agrees to maintain a certain amount of virtual inventory. When the seller sells-through a product, they don't actually have to pay for the inventory until the second the unit is "pulled" from this hub and then the supplier bills the seller and is on the hook to replenish this inventory. Of course the seller discontinues that product, then it just never pulls any more units from hub and the supplier is left holding the bag (even though the inventory is in the seller's warehouse). On the sale, the seller often still has "net-90" days to pay for it as well. As you can see, the life of the supplier isn't easy, nowdays they need to pay for both the inventory and the account receivables side...

      For the inventory on the shelf there is a similar paradigm, as part of the shelf stocking agreement, a repurchase agreement is made that the seller can require the supplier to purchase back some or all of the inventory (although usually at a discounted rate), if the inventory hasn't been sold in a certain number of days. This type of stock/repurchase agreements happens in industries far and wide, supermarkets to bookseller to electronic's retailers.

      The rationale for the seller offering a high repurchase price and percentages is for the seller and supplier to maximise the amount of product on the shelves (to prevent out-of-stock sales loss) given the seller's risk tolerance for the product. Of course the supplier may be irrational, but the seller is covered a bit in this case... Usually the seller says I'll risk $X to stock your product on the shelf and the agreement is structured by the supplier that although $Y of inventory is stocked, $Y - #units X repurchase_price = $X.

  • I really don't see how Facebook can go but down. It's not cool new thing. Everyone capable enough to use it from phone already does it. How many people are there without smartphones and with active Facebook account?

  • by nick357 (108909) on Monday May 13, 2013 @04:35PM (#43713943)

    ...the ONLY reason they have the number of users that they do is because everyone's friends are on Facebook.

    People do not like Facebook. They hate the lack of security, the constant changing of format, the increasingly annoying advertising, etc, etc, etc.

    One day (and I believe it will be soon), a viable alternative will appear and their collective mass of users will leave practically overnight.

    No one loves Facebook. Its not cool. Its just where everyone is hanging until something better comes along.

    • by geek (5680) on Monday May 13, 2013 @04:55PM (#43714121) Homepage

      One day (and I believe it will be soon), a viable alternative will appear and their collective mass of users will leave practically overnight.

      No one loves Facebook. Its not cool. Its just where everyone is hanging until something better comes along.

      I went over to Google+ and have never looked back. All the high school bullshit from 20 years ago that somehow found me on Facebook is now long gone. I honestly hope Facebook stays alive for a while so as to keep all the fuckers I hate from my high school years away from my social networking.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        If high school bullshit found you on Facebook, that is kind of your problem for friending it (and then not un-friending it) in the first place.

      • One thing stopped me using Google+ more when it was the rage a couple years ago: lack of an events calendar.

        At the time you needed a separate calendar account and then tie it to Plus. I had zero desire to do this. I logged in recently and IIRC this is no longer required, but it was a huge momentum killer among my circle(s) of friends.

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        All the high school bullshit from 20 years ago that somehow found me on Facebook is now long gone.

        That's funny, because I think that's a huge proportion of what people like from FB. (I'm not saying it's what *I* like from FB, though I have ended up playing Words With Friends with people I knew in high school, indirectly because we were friends on FB.)

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      One day (and I believe it will be soon), a viable alternative will appear and their collective mass of users will leave practically overnight.

      G+ is a viable alternative. I'm not exactly in love with it, but it works. Like most google stuff it is unnecessarily bandwidth-hungry, but that's pretty much the only thing wrong with it after the real name policy, which doesn't differentiate it from facebook.

    • by bitt3n (941736)

      One day (and I believe it will be soon), a viable alternative will appear and their collective mass of users will leave practically overnight.

      just like happened to ebay when they jacked their fees up?

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Monday May 13, 2013 @04:36PM (#43713955) Homepage Journal
    Can anybody name me a smartphone that doesn't have Facebook integration already? It's hard to build a phone around a killer feature when literally every competitor already has that feature.
  • Maybe that's one of the reasons why it flopped?

  • Blame HTC (Score:4, Funny)

    by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Monday May 13, 2013 @04:50PM (#43714081)

    There was a translation problem when the order came in,

    "We want a smart, flip-phone" got translated to "We want a smart, flopped-phone".

    And boy, did HTC deliver!

  • People don't get sucked into a "gadget" when they have real needs. Users want a product with a real answer they can RELY on.

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      People don't get sucked into a "gadget" when they have real needs. Users want a product with a real answer they can RELY on.

      ...or if it's from Apple.

  • They might have been better off when sales started taking if they highlighted it's just a launcher on an Android based phone and not a full blown Operating System. The problem was the launcher was optimized to enhance social networking and (from what I hear) wasn't good at working with other Apps.

    This is a bad hit for HTC. The specs on the hardware are pretty good, so dumping a re-flash to the feature phone market is going to hurt. I don't think there's been a fail like this snce the MS Kin.

  • How long before they're offered as TracFone's for $19.95 with 20 minutes free?
    • by roc97007 (608802)

      How long before they're offered as TracFone's for $19.95 with 20 minutes free?

      I think you have something there. The "facebook phone" concept was tailor made for prepaid blister-pack impulse buys displayed near the register.

  • by m.dillon (147925) on Monday May 13, 2013 @05:00PM (#43714179) Homepage

    Because, really, there was never a 'Facebook' phone in the first place. It was just an annoying app launcher that should never have been bundled with a phone. This also demonstrates the sheer power that the default app launcher has to make or break perfectly fine hardware. Even though the customer can easily replace the launcher, bundling a phone with a messed up launcher basically destroys sales of the phone.

    Vendors try to lock people into these sorts of things all the time, it just usually isn't quite so blatant and most people don't even realize that it is happening. Buy a Motorola phone and you get some minor but interesting stuff that is generic but locked into the platform (can't be downloaded and run on other android phones). Same with all vendors, but they have to tread carefully or risk alienating their entire user base. The FB stuff was so in-your-face that even a 5-year-old could turn away from the foul stench.

    -Matt

    • Apple's first foray into cell phones was the ROKR [wikipedia.org] made in conjunction with Motorola. It was just a rebadged Motorola E398 with the Apple iTunes music store [wikipedia.org] accessible directly from the phone via licensed Apple software. It launched in September 2005.

      Apple severely cut motorola off at the knees by soon announcing the iPhone and discontinuing support of the ROKR in September 2006, with the iTunes software being set up and configured to work with the as yet undisclosed iPhone hardware. So even Apple had a m

      • by rsborg (111459)

        Apple's first foray into cell phones was the ROKR [wikipedia.org] made in conjunction with Motorola. It was just a rebadged Motorola E398 with the Apple iTunes music store [wikipedia.org] accessible directly from the phone via licensed Apple software. It launched in September 2005.

        Apple severely cut motorola off at the knees by soon announcing the iPhone and discontinuing support of the ROKR in September 2006, with the iTunes software being set up and configured to work with the as yet undisclosed iPhone hardware. So even Apple had a mis-step with Motorola on its first time out on the cell-phone dance floor. Why shouldn't Facebook make a misstep or two? (Not that I condone facebook's existence, the utility of facebook pages, or even any point to checking up on facebook at all. I just have an opinion about 1st generation hardware attempts! ! !)

        It's also like the Zune phone. Just when MS started its advertising blitz with ?uestLove a.k.a. Questlove [wikipedia.org], the stores started discounting and discontinuing the damn useless phone and music player.

        Your timeline is off - the ROKR was born and died before the iPhone was even announced (which happened in Jan 2007). I think both Moto and Apple knew the ROKR was doomed to failure before it even arrived but kept up for different reasons: Apple was desperate to break into the mobile industry (some say ROKR was Apple's stalking horse), while Moto was feeling the heat from RIMM and PALM feeling their RAZR hit was fading.

  • I've got an older HTC Supersonic and I could go for a 0.99 upgrade as long as I could move it over to my current Sprint account. Why can't this be unlocked and reflashed with a decent version of Android?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kyokugenryu (817869)
      This being a GSM AT&T phone might be a big roadblock in you activating it on Sprint's CDMA network
  • Sure, the price is dropped to less than a dollar, but you'd be paying the phone back twice in the monthly contract fees. Wake me up when the phone is 99 cents without a contract or a lock.
  • They might have only sold 15,000 units but for those that bought them it is their 'phone and many of them will be locked into a 2 year contract. So they will want the 'phone supported by HTC & Facebook for at least 2 years, preferably 4 -- OS upgrades, security/bug fixes, etc.

    However I suspect that HTC will not bother. I bought an HTC 'phone, I got one OS upgrade and then they refused to do any more. They had my money so why bother to spend money supporting me ? It would not bring them any more income

  • by caywen (942955) on Monday May 13, 2013 @06:20PM (#43714939)

    Facebook isn't where users want it to be. We like Facebook in the browser and as an app, but collectively users don't feel it belongs as their shell. Consumers had the same reaction to Chrome OS: phenomenal as a browser, but we're rejecting it as the OS, hence, Chromebook has floundered. Same thing goes for Windows - consumers like it on their desktops and laptops, but so far looks like we don't really want it on a phone and tablets. Same thing for Linux - we flocked to it for server apps, but overall avoided it on our desktops.

    It's not that I feel they made a mistake, though. I think it's very worthwhile to bump software experiences up and down the stack to see if there's a better fit. But when consumers reject the positioning, it also makes sense to go back to what works.

  • Shocked. Just shocked to hear this.

    Funny thing is, I wonder how many people bought it and immediately discarded the Facebook crap on it. For all it's warts, it was a pretty good phone hardwarewise.

  • I remember back in the day all my friends had an email account and that was how you could reach them. Now you have to remember how to reach each friend. Some of them are Facebook People, so you have to message there. Some use SMS. For some of them all you have is their @ISP email, which languishes for months when you fail to realize they've moved to gmail... Not only do you have to know their address, you have to know the conduit...
  • It seems that the kind of people who where supposed to buy the HTC felt that : Ok so I'm spending all my time on FB, but it's rude to rub it in .... And didn't want to be tagged: Facebookista ... Moreover I guess there was some kind of subliminal feeling that if the phone had "Facebook Home" on top you might not see the other allerts like viber, watsapp, SMS, etc.... On the technical side the phone seems to be not bad, maybe it will find a second market as a cheap cyanogen platform ...

Life. Don't talk to me about life. - Marvin the Paranoid Anroid

Working...