AT&T promotion offers HTC First for 99 cents; market for Facebook phone questionable

We have seen Facebook-focused phones flop in the past (remember the ChaCha), and this current promotion doesn't mean that is happening. Then again, most new phones don't drop nearly $100 within a month.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer on

We often see sales and promotions on smartphones, usually a few months or more after release, but the folks at Android Central have pointed out that the HTC First Facebook phone is already down to just 99 cents with a two-year contract. This may just be a short-term promotional price, but I wouldn't doubt if it stays that way or drops to $50 soon.

Is there really a market for a Facebook phone? AT&T promotion offers HTC First for 99 cents
Image: HTC

The HTC First just launched on April 12, at $99.99. Given that the Galaxy S IV, HTC One, and BlackBerry Z10 are all fairly new on AT&T, this promotional price for the HTC First may just be a way to bring in some buyers. Then again, it could mean that sales are just not there, and they want to sell as many as they can before other great products launch.

You can install the Facebook Home experience on other Android smartphones, and after trying it on my HTC One and Galaxy Note II, I gave up and uninstalled it after a couple of days. I don't think my Facebook life is that exciting, and did not like seeing the same photos regularly scroll across my screen. Even more frustrating were the extra steps I had to take to get back to the Android experience I prefer.

I do use and enjoy the updated Facebook Messenger with Chat Heads functionality, but have no desire to go back to using Facebook Home. People who have tried the HTC First state that it is a decent Android phone, and with Home turned off, you get a pure Google-experience device for a rather low cost.

This AT&T promotional offer may be temporary, but I have trouble believing that there really is a large market for a phone so focused on Facebook. When you can get another Android phone and get more control over the Facebook Home experience, that seems to be the best approach.

If this promotion is extended beyond a reasonable offer period, it is also not good news for HTC, which is struggling to pull out of its financial slump.

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