Monday, May 17, 2021

‘Facebook Phone’ Won’t Launch in Europe After All

U.S. consumers have been less than enthusiastic about the HTC First, the so-called “Facebook phone” that comes with Facebook Home pre-installed. As a result, the social network has halted plans to launch the smartphone in the U.K.

PCMag’s Stephanie Mlot reported, “Following reportedly dismal U.S. sales of the HTC First, which comes pre-loaded with the Facebook Home experience, the smartphone will not make the trip across the pond. Mobile carrier EE said Friday that early U.K. consumer interest in the device has been so low that the phone will not go on sale in the country—a decision made by Facebook, not the individual carriers, according to EE.”

The Verge ran a statement from Facebook, which said, “We’ve listened to feedback from users on their experience using Home. While many people love it, we’ve heard a lot of great feedback about how to make Home substantially better. As a result we’re focusing the next few months on adding customization features that address the feedback we received. While we focus on making Home better, we are going to limit supporting new devices and think it makes a lot of sense for EE and Orange to hold off deploying the HTC First in Europe.”

InformationWeek’s Eric Zeman noted, “Facebook Home is a launcher for Android devices that replaces the stock home screen with one that’s focused on Facebook content. It is only available to a handful of devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S III and Note II, and the HTC One, One X and One X+. The app has seen a bit more than one million downloads since its mid-April debut, but the rate of new installs has plummeted according to the Google Play Store.”

Ars Technica’s Casey Johnston added, “Facebook Home carries a 2/5 star rating in the Google Play Store, while the HTC First sold only 15,000 handsets at $99 with a two-year contract in its first month. The First was discounted to 99¢, and reports surfaced that it would be discontinued.”

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