Will AT&T discontinue the HTC First?



We didn’t know what to expect the first time HTC and AT&T collaborated on a “Facebook phone” of sorts. That little project was called the HTC Status, and while it was never positioned as a powerhouse device for serious smartphone users its appeal to the hundreds of millions of Facebook fans seemed to position itself for success. Even with attractive pricing and decent marketing, that didn’t happen.

The dynamic duo tried again with the HTC First, a no-frills phone with Facebook Home pre-installed. Might it succeed? Would this finally be the Facebook phone everyone has been waiting for? Kevin says it at least wasn’t bad enough to not consider, commending HTC for a solid, albeit a tad uninspired job with the phone’s hardware and light software.

Unfortunately, it seems like AT&T and HTC could have another stinker on their hands. BGR is reporting that AT&T is getting ready to discontinue the HTC First after disappointing sales. We imagined things weren’t going well when AT&T dropped its on-contract price to $.99 and its off-contract price by $100 to try and generate some sales. It looks like that huge discount may not have moved the needle much at all.

HTC and AT&T are being mum on the whole thing, of course, but we wouldn’t be surprised to learn that any of this is true. It doesn’t help that there’s another device on AT&T’s shelves by HTC — the HTC One — that might be taking thunder from almost any other device not named the Samsung Galaxy S4 or iPhone 5. While the price difference there is staggering, it’s the value people put into the phones that counts — some feel more comfortable paying $200 for an awesome phone than $1 for meh. And, to be honest, I don’t blame them at all.

The only question is how long is AT&T willing to wait before deciding to throw in the towel if this is, in fact, true? When or if it ever happens, BGR reports AT&T won’t even want to go through the trouble of sell-through — they’d ship the whole stinking heap right back on the first plane to Taiwan.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. If it was a source other than BGR I would be quicker to believe it, although it probably is true, usually anything other than the shitty iPhone coming from BGR is usually bullshit.

    1. They haven’t been accurate on rumors since the original Droid… even their iPhone rumors miss the mark.

  2. i always thought to myself, “whos gonna get suckered into buying this thing?”

  3. The HTC First is the best Android device to come out in years… This article is lying.

    1. To come out of where? The closet..?

      /Seinfeld voice
      Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course.

      1. ^1 for the Seinfeld reference

    2. The sarcasm is strong with this one…

  4. It’s good to see that consumers realize that the 2-year contract is where the real cost is, not the subsidized price of the phone. Clearly if you’re going to commit to 2 years, $200 up front for the best is the smarter choice.

  5. They should’ve made this one aluminum too, and probably silver as well. They would’ve had sheeple lined up around the block, praising its build quality and ‘sex appeal’ :P

    1. Yes any one having an opinion different to your makes them sheep, or maybe just maybe you’re the moron who opted for a comparable phone made of subpar construction materials and now vent your frustration on people who werent dumb enough to fall for the same trap.

      1. Hey everybody… point and laugh at Phandroid’s #1 “premium feel” aluminum cheerleader! :)

        1. U mad bro?

          1. If I turned my smiley face upside down, then I’d be mad, bro

          2. Don’t be no cloud on a sunny day!

  6. There are tumbleweeds blowing around over on the Phandroid forum for the First…

  7. Nothing surprising there…

  8. Nathan Explosion voice:

    They didn’t even give it a fair chance… I mean, I’m personally not interested in this device at all, but running pure stock 4.1(.2) is not a bad deal for .99 cents. I went to my local AT&T and someone turned off the Facebook Home and my first thought was, “There’s a fellow Android-Head somewhere here…” The screen isn’t bad at all, nice and crisp, but like the article mentioned I think people are finally deciding that it’s worth-while to get the $200 phone for 2(!) years. After my contract is up with T-Mobile, I’m staying Nexus, and hopping on a pre-paid plan (still with T-MO).

    1. That $30 for 100 Minutes, Unlimited Text, 5GB of 4G speeds plan? I want that plan. I can’t wait until I pay off my phone. Ima try and speed it up. Once I finish paying my HTC One, Ima pay attention to my data usage. If I see I’m not hitting 5GB often, then Ima switch to that plan.

      I don’t talk on my phone.

      1. I tried to get that plan, but it’s an on-line special. You can not go into a T-Mobile store and get it, much to my disdain – I tried it, and was rebuffed.

        Turns out, though, that I’d never have survived on that plan. $30 for 5 gigs of data, or $60 for unlimited data (not pre-paid, and I have a discount, normally it’s $70)… While I’m paying double the price, I’ve used 33 gigs of data this current billing cycle (which ends the 19th).

        1. Actually, I seen that plan at Wal-Mart. I didn’t know Tmo stores or even the website offered that plan.

          But sweet mother of Jesus!! 33GB!? LoL!! Oh my gosh!! That reminds me of the time I used about 30GB in a month on Tmo. Back before they had 5GB + unlimited Throttled.

          Tethering my Wii for Netflix; after the 5GB I got the text message, but they didn’t throttle me. It was amazing. IDK why. That went on for 2 whole months.

    2. I would not be suckered into a 2 year contract for this phone.

    3. The First isn’t bad, but for a mid range stock Android device, isn’t it worth waiting for the leaked XFON (“Ghost”)? Maybe that’s why AT&T is looking to clear it out.

  9. Yes, they should. Facebook Home is just a launcher that can be replaced. You’re pretty much paying for a launcher.

  10. I wonder if people even know the HTC First is an Android phone, or they think the whole thing is Facebook. As far as people are concerned Facebook is an app, not an OS.

    1. average customers are really retarded when it comes to phones, most buy phones the way they buy cars. They choose the prettiest on the lot or what they can afford

    2. This exactly what the issue is. The average joe doesn’t get that this is still an Android device. AFATK, this is a Facebook phone. Facebook may want to control folks mobile experience, but very few users want this out of Facebook.

      1. I think a similar problem is biting chunks out of Apple now too. Trying a heavy, deep interface is fine, but I’d want to be able to change after a few months. A facebook interface for two years just seems crazy monotonous old. Even if it is possible to re-skin or de-skin the phone, the consumer image is of a specialty device, and that is not a big draw on a general purpose smartphone.

        The iPhone users I know do look with jealousy on the constant state of newness coming out of android. The ability to configure widgets and simply change wallpapers and use app organizers (Folder Organizer) makes the impression true. We can have more beautiful, more functional, more configurable, more useful phones than those stuck on iOS devices.

        And even then, the hardware upgrades on iPhone pale in comparison to android. iPhone users aren’t going to get large screens until the iPhone 6 in 2014! That will put them three years behind android. The drawbacks of lock-in are painfully obvious on the other side.

        1. I agree with you. I just had a friend tell me he is tired of his iPhone that he can’t really make “his”, and its tiny “woman-sized” screen lol. Plenty of iPhone users are tired of looking at a grid of icons.

  11. Why didn’t the geniuses at Facebook put the software on the One then sold it through AT&T as an exclusive? And come off 100 dollars? That way what you lose in subsidy cost you would make it back up in goodwill? I sense a dark cloud of doom in the Death Star.

    1. Why would HTC take that gamble, it would seems as bloat on HTC’s part and probably kill sales on ATT the second largest carrier.

  12. At&t’s comment on dropping the htc first…


  13. I think they should have kept this phone at a off-contract price (let’s say, $200)… It would attract people looking for a good mid-range device while not having to worry about being locked in for two years on a mid-range phone that’ll probably be never seeing an Android update.

  14. I’m curious who sold more: AT&T/HTC with the First, or Verizon/Microsoft with the Kin…

    1. sounds like a competition neither will care to win, nor admit it if they did.

  15. ’twas a crap shoot.

  16. Diasble Home and you have vanilla Android. Played with one today.

    1. Yep, an old version of vanilla Android that will never see a single update.

  17. Ha Haaaaa </Nelson>

  18. you can also blame for this pc of crap exclusivity through at&t

  19. Gotta make room for the mid range XFON.

  20. When will Facebook get it: people don’t WANT a phone that is focused around Facebook! Not only that, but why would someone lock themselves into a 2-year contract for a middling phone centered around Facebook? Even last year’s headliners like the GS3 and One X are still better purchases.

    S/N: The average joe will look at the First and Facebook Home and wonder why they need to buy the First just to get Home. In addition, most ordinary folks won’t know up front (or BELIEVE) that you can completely turn off Home. I hope 1) Facebook paid HTC plenty of money to make that phone, and 2) HTC needs to release this phone with stock Android, without Home, on multiple networks. THAT would sell as long as the price was right.

  21. People might buy a “Facebook” phone but they are not going to buy yet another little HTC phone that happens to have some Facebook features. Stick to the One, please.

  22. All righty, let’s unlock these things and hock them on daily deal sites.

    1. How bout $50 ?

  23. Best thing AT&T/HTC could do is bundle this as a BOGO w/a phone of equal or greater value w/a 1 or 2yr contract. Win/win for everyone.

  24. lower the price another hundo to 250 and I’d buy one over the Nexus just for the smaller size

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