The HTC First hasn’t been doing too well in America. Rumours suggest that the “Facebook phone” has seen weak sales on AT&T, prompting the carrier to slash prices and allegedly abandoned the handset just a month after its launch. That poor performance may mean that we’ll now never see the handset in the UK. Multiple publications – including Engadget, Android Central, and Pocket-lint – say that EE, the exclusive carrier of the HTC First in the UK, has put the release of the phone on ice.
UK pre-orders for the handset have apparently been cancelled following Facebook issuing guidance to hold off on the launch of the First. According to a statement released by EE, the social networking company is instead going to “focus on adding new customization features to Facebook Home over the coming months.” The network says that it will contact anyone who registered their interest in the phone in due course to tell them exactly what the situation is.
So why is Facebook getting cold feet? As above, sales of the phone have been rumoured to be extremely low. Not only that, but Facebook Home itself hasn’t exactly set the world on fire. As of writing, the app has between one and five million downloads – not particularly impressive given that Facebook reportedly shelters around 1.11 billion users. Facebook Home also has a weak rating on the Play Store, currently sitting at 2.3 stars out of 5.
It seems that people just don’t seem to like the idea of Facebook completely taking over their smartphone. Why, then, would they want to buy a device dedicated to that experience when they’ve already tried and didn’t like it? Sure, there’s the allure of stock Android underneath, but that “feature” is catering to a niche crowd who would be better off purchasing a Nexus device. If you were desperate to get your hands on a HTC First, then you’re out of luck unless you’re willing to import one from America.