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AT&T to Discontinue with Facebook Phones Amid Tepid Demand (T, FB)

AT&T Inc.’s (NYSE: T) HTC First, dubbed as the Facebook Phone, was the first smartphone which included Facebook Home, an app as well as operating system, preinstalled.

The idea behind the preinstalled app cum operating system was to create a USP, providing users with the ability to “put your friends first”. However, looking at the very weak demand for this new device, one thing is clear that the users have put this device, last.

Soon after the Facebook Phone hit the market, prices were slashed as it failed to gain traction in the highly competitive touch screen market. The phone, which was reasonably priced by AT&T at $99, was discounted within one month to 99 cents.

On Monday, the BGR Tech Blog reported that AT&T disappointed by lackluster demand for its device, decided to discontinue with it altogether. The BGR Tech Blog said that AT&T sold fewer than 15,000 phones in the first month.

Although AT&T refused to comment officially over the rollback of flop HTC First smartphones, Fox News have quoted sources familiar with the matter as saying that the Company will discontinue with dud devices and unsold inventories will be sold back to HTC.

Meanwhile, Facebook Home, which is available as a free download, is faring better; still, it remains far away from being a runaway success.

According to Forbes, Facebook Home has exceeded one million downloads at Google Pay Story but more than 16,000 users rate it with an average two stars, citing fast draining of batteries and some other usability hiccups.

“I installed it for a few hours and then deleted it with extreme prejudice. The whole concept of a Facebook-centric phone is the flaw,” wrote Nizar Senussi about the experience, according to Forbes.

Shares of the wireless network, AT&T ended lower about 1% while Facebook Inc.’s shares (NASDAQ: FB) gained about 0.50% in regular trading hours on Monday.


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