HTC's Facebook phone: Not dead yet

AT&T hasn't made a final decision about the fate of the HTC First, also known as the first Facebook phone, CNET has learned.

Jennifer Van Grove Former Senior Writer / News
Jennifer Van Grove covered the social beat for CNET. She loves Boo the dog, CrossFit, and eating vegan. Her jokes are often in poor taste, but her articles are not.
Jennifer Van Grove
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The HTC First, also known as the Facebook phone. Josh Miller/CNET
No, the first Facebook phone, also known as the HTC First, isn't ready for the smartphone graveyard just yet.

BGR reported Monday that AT&T would discontinue selling the HTC First and return unsold inventory back to the manufacturer once it met the contractual obligations of its in-store display arrangement with HTC.

But AT&T has not made a decision to discontinue the First, according to a person familiar with the carrier's plans.

"I am not aware of any discussion ever taking place about sending the phones back or to stop selling the First," said a person intimately familiar with the dealings between AT&T and HTC.

Released just one month ago, the HTC First was the first smartphone to ship with Facebook Home, an invasive software package that makes the social network the predominant feature of the device's home and lock screens. Home is adored by those who love Facebook, abhorred by everyone else.

HTC and Facebook declined to comment on rumors of the device's discontinuation. An AT&T representative told CNET: "As mentioned previously, we do pricing promotions all the time and have made no decisions on future plans."

The HTC First may not be dead, but it's still a big dud. Though considered AT&T's flagship smartphone for spring, the First seems to be the last device consumers actually want to buy. Last week, in an unusually swift move, AT&T drastically reduced the First's price tag from $99 to 99 cents with a two-year contract.

With unremarkable hardware and a software package that Android users don't want to make their home, the faltering Facebook phone could be on its last breath.

CNET's Roger Cheng contributed to this story.

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