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AT&T Sells Out of HTC First Inventory at $0.99, Compares Experience to Apple's Motorola ROKR Experiment

Back in April, Facebook and HTC teamed up to unveil the first “Facebook Phone,” which turned out to the HTC First equipped with Facebook's "Home" software, which brought an integrated Facebook experience to the device.

Both Facebook Home and the HTC First turned out to be unpopular with Android users, with the software garnering quite a few negative reviews in the Google Play store and AT&T deciding to drop the price on the phone from $99 to $0.99 shortly after its release.

According to AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega, though the HTC First failed to catch on, it wasn't an entirely negative experience for the company. "We sold a bunch more when we lowered the price," he told CNET in an interview on Monday. "We sold everything we had on that." Despite the fact that Vega says AT&T has sold all of its HTC First phones, they remain in stock both on the website and in stores, making the phone's official status unclear.

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Vega declined to discuss how many units AT&T has managed to sell thus far, but he did compare AT&T's experience with the HTC First to Apple's experience with the Motorola ROKR.

Introduced in 2005, the Motorola ROKR featured iTunes integration, offering users a way to play music purchased from the iTunes Store. It came equipped with a music player similar to Apple's iPods, but like the HTC First, it experienced lackluster sales and was discontinued the next year.

Two years after the failure of the ROKR, which was Apple's first foray into the phone market, the iPhone was released. Vega is confident that Facebook may have a similar experience and told CNET that AT&T is committed to continuing to work with the company.

"We have a great relationship with Apple just like we have a great relationship with Facebook," he said. "We look forward to working with them to make Home better."

Top Rated Comments

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11 months ago
What's the moral of the story? People will buy terrible phones if they are cheap enough?
Rating: 12 Positives
11 months ago
"We sold a lot more when we were essentially giving the phone away. Facebook Home is really what people want, which is why nobody chose to pay for it." :rolleyes:
Rating: 11 Positives
11 months ago

So what you are trying to say AT&T is that a bad phone experience sold better at $0.99 than it did as a bad phone experience at $99. Yeah, I follow . . .:rolleyes:


They will do even better next time, if AT&T give the buyer $99 when you "buys" the phone. :D
Rating: 9 Positives
11 months ago
Why don't Americans understand that a 'free' phone is paid for by the monthly contract they signed?

In the rest of the world it's easy to get phones unbundled from contracts - and also, contracts are available with different monthly costs so you can choose the balance of paying up front vs more per month.

*sigh*
Rating: 8 Positives
11 months ago

What's the moral of the story? People will buy terrible phones if they are cheap enough?


sure they will, just look at android sales! ;)
Rating: 6 Positives
11 months ago
So what you are trying to say AT&T is that a bad phone experience sold better at $0.99 than it did as a bad phone experience at $99. Yeah, I follow . . .:rolleyes:
Rating: 5 Positives
11 months ago
"We sold a bunch more when we lowered the price gave them away for free," he told CNET

FTFY, Ralph.
Rating: 4 Positives
11 months ago
It's not the phone, but the Facebook integration, that has left people less than excited.
Rating: 4 Positives
11 months ago

It's not a terrible phone. I bought one off eBay for about $150 as a backup phone and device to mess with Android. Turn off Facebook Home and you have a very capable midrange phone. Display is beautiful, battery is good, and I like that the body is really low key. The only part that sucks is the camera and the fact that it'll probably never see another Android update ever again. But without Home on, it is practically a stock Android experience.


This.

But how can they make a Facebook phone with a mediocre camera? In what universe does that make sense?
Rating: 4 Positives
11 months ago
It's a shame really, this was a cheap phone, not cutting edge specs, but decent. All it took was a few taps to completely disable Facebook Home, and you had a cheap, decent phone with a 4.3 inch screen running Stock Jelly Bean.

Facebook Home was literally a Launcher they bundled with it.
Rating: 3 Positives

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