Rumor: AT&T To Discontinue The HTC First Facebook Phone

HTC’s Facebook Home-laden First smartphone may only have debuted on AT&T last month, but it appears that the device may be a dud as far as consumers are concerned. According to a report from BGR’s Zach Epstein, sales of the HTC First smartphone have been so disappointing that AT&T will soon be dropping the device from its lineup completely and shipping all unsold inventory back to HTC.

If this report holds true (representatives from AT&T, HTC, and Facebook have not responded to our questions at time of writing), AT&T will continue to sell the First until it fulfills its contractual obligations to display the thing in its myriad retail stores.

And just how bad was the First doing? Epstein expounds a bit on Twitter, noting that the infinitely lamer HTC Status sold more during its first month on the market than the First did. That may not be the most fair comparison to make considering that the Status was HTC’s first foray into baking Facebook directly into an Android device (and in a time when the Facebook Android app was markedly worse than it is now), but there you have it. What’s also unclear is what such a move would mean for the First in other markets — HTC CEO Peter Chou noted at the Facebook Home launch event that the device would be carried by France’s Orange and the UK’s EE later this summer.

To be quite honest, it’s not exactly a shock to hear that the First hasn’t managed to whip the smartphone-hungry masses into a frenzy. Less than a week ago, AT&T slashed the on-contract price of the First from $99 to a scant $0.99 — it seemed like a curious move at the time given just how new the First was, but many took it as a signal that the sales situation was dire. The real question here is what managed to turn off consumers more: the First’s relatively modest spec sheet, or its reliance on Facebook Home. If I were a betting man, my money would be on the latter considering the thorough drubbing that Facebook’s replacement launcher has received from reporters and users alike and the fact that interest in Home as a whole seems to be waning.

We’re working to verify this rumor one way or the other, but for now it’s best to take this whole thing with a grain of salt. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time a Facebook phone was erroneously thought to be taking a dip in the deadpool.