Sales in the U.S. of device have been nonexistent

For the scant minority of UK Android buyers looking to get their hands on the HTC First by HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) you're in for disappointment -- plans for a launch in the European Union island nation have been nixed amidst poor performance in the U.S.

The idea of a "Facebook phone" may have been an ill-conceived idea at best for HTC and Facebook, Inc. (FB), but Facebook's handling of the companies' joint hardware project certainly didn't help matters.

After a much-hyped April launch event, partner Facebook promised HTC a period of exclusivity on its Android reskin "Home", which the HTC First comes preloaded with.  Such exclusivity could have given some customers incentive to buy the HTC First.  Instead, Facebook went back on its original plan, releasing the reskin to HTC's competitors like Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KSC:005930).

In addition to the exclusivity loss, Facebook's Home suffered horrible reviews from Android users who complained that it was clunky and at times nonfunctional -- nothing like the slick appearance Facebook gave in its media preview.  Sales of the HTC First have been nonexistent, as evidenced by the recent price cut from $99 USD to 99 cents.
HTC First
Now it appears that Facebook is pushing the blame onto HTC in a roundabout way, advising European carriers not to release the First.  The phone had been slated for launch in the UK on EE and Orange -- two brands of France Télécom SA (EPA:FTE) and Deutsche Telekom AG's (ETR:DTE) joint venture, EE Communications.

But in a statement Facebook confirms the decision, writing:

Following customer feedback, Facebook has decided to focus on adding new customization features to Facebook Home over the coming months. While they are working to make a better Facebook Home experience, they have recommended holding off launching the HTC First in the UK, and so we will shortly be contacting those who registered their interest with us to let them know of this decision. Rest assured, we remain committed to bringing our customers the latest mobile experiences, and we will continue to build on our strong relationship with Facebook so as to offer customers new opportunities in the future.

The HTC First had pretty poor hardware for a phone originally slotted at the $100 USD price point.  While Facebook appears to be adding insult to injury for HTC it may only be hurrying the inevitable; the phone is also rumored to be on the verge of getting the boot in the U.S. market as well.  Currently the HTC First has only been released on AT&T, Inc. (T) in the U.S.

Source: Engadget

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