AT&T Drops The Facebook Centric HTC First to 99 Cents After One Month

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If Mark Zuckerberg and crew needed any more evidence that people are not interested in a FacePhone they only have to look at the HTC First. This new phone has already dropped down from its introductory cost to the $.99 bucket which is normally reserved for products that are at or near the end of their sales life. The HTC First is less than a month old so why is it already in the bargain bucket? Is this showing that people do not want Facebook running their phone or simply a reflection that people are do not want a phone that is too social network oriented?

The fact that the HTC First has been given a 99%+ discount a month after its release has sparked quite a bit of talk about Facebook and their push to mobile. Many are of the opinion that consumers might not want Facebook to be so embedded in their mobile world or that the low demand for the phone is showing that Facebook is no longer as interesting as it used to be.

In reality it is probably a combination of the two on top of the whole issue around a new OS to learn (even though it is pretty much Android with a Facebook overlay). Remember that Facebook is not at the top of people’s list for companies that respect user privacy even with a decent grade from groups like EFF. There have been far too many times that Facebook has made massive changes to their service without user notification for most people to be comfortable with the idea of a Facebook controlled phone. After all if Facebook is going to start auto tagging, push out email addresses, changes to privacy settings and add opt-out features to their web interface how much worse would it be on a phone?

Look at what Google went through when their Google+ app started automatically uploading ever picture you took to the web and that was just an app which people can uninstall. Imagine what someone might be thinking about a phone that has Facebook embedded as deeply as the HTC First does. There is no telling what you find you are sharing one day. This fear certainly must play into what consumers are thinking about this phone. There is also the possibility that with new phones like the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S IV and others there is simply not much interest in a phone that dominated by Facebook.

We also want to remember how badly phone that have social networking at their core have failed in the past. Anyone remember Microsoft’s Kin? A Facebook phone is probably in the same book as they were. Social networking is something you do on your phone and PC, it should never be something that the phone “is”. For now AT&T is going to try to garner more interest simply by pricing them to move. At $99 the HTC First might not be an attractive option, but at $0.99 things can change. We do not expect this to make the HTC First a success, but at least AT&T might be able to sell a few more units and make up the cost in data plans.

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