The HTC First, the first mobile device to come fully loaded with Facebook Home for Android, is now being offered at 99 cents, down from $99 last week.
The ultra-reduced price, coming just over a month after the launch of First last April, has tech pundits wondering whether the move is a desperate ploy to get consumers to bite or just a common promotional pricing by the manufacturers.
An AT&T rep was quick to say the sudden drop in price of the First, which comes with a two-year contract with AT&T, should not be taken for more than a marketing campaign.
“We do promotions like this all the time,” the representative said. He would not say how long the promo would last.
A representative from HTC spoke along the lines of AT&T, but when asked on the sales figures of First models, the rep declined to comment saying HTC does not discuss sales figures outside of their official financial announcements.
Before we proceed, what are the specs of this HTC First anyway?
By itself the HTC First, also referred to in informal channels as the Facebook phone, is not a thing of beauty. It’s not exactly ugly, but rather simple and, in the words of a tech website editor, “not very exciting to look at.” It only has three buttons at the bottom for back, home and menu.
Other HTC First specs:
• 4.3-inch HD display
• Android 4.1.2 Jellybean operating system
• 16GB internal storage (not upgradable)
• 1.6 megapixel camera in the front
• 5 megapixel cam in the back with LED flash
• Qualcomm dual-core processor
The phone is sealed and users will have no access to the battery. The cover is a soft-touch material that feels nice to hold, but is not interchangeable. The phone only comes in the colors black, white, light blue and red.
The First also comes pre-loaded with Facebook Home. For those not familiar with Home, it’s an app that places the online platform as the main feature of your phone. With the First you will have immediate access to your newsfeed on your cover, or what they call the “coverfeed”. You can also quickly like any post or photos of your friends.
Take away Facebook Home and the HTC First becomes just another, cheaper, Android phone.
It’s worth mentioning that Home, released also a month ago, is downloadable from the App Store but only compatible with models like HTC First, HTC One X, HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4 and Galaxy Note 2. It should also be mentioned that Home received a less than warm housewarming from users, with 1,864 of 3,930 users rating it one star at the App Store just a few days after launch.
Some tech pundits were quick to point out that AT&T and HTC were trying to hide the obvious, that the First had flopped, and badly. They said that aside from using the social media’s Home, widely regarded as a failure, to market the HTC First, the model is now facing stiff competition from its own model, the HTC One. It is also allegedly being snubbed in the anticipated release of the Samsung Galaxy S4 which is set for wide release this July.
Will this drastic price cut pay off? We’ll have to wait for the HTC figure releases to be able to tell.
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