'Facebook Phone' HTC First dropped in Europe

By John Leonard
24 May 2013 View Comments
htc first facebook phone

Telecoms network EE has confirmed that it will not be releasing the HTC First smartphone in Europe following a poor response to the Facebook Home interface in the US.

The HTC First, often referred to as "Facebook Phone", is the first to feature Home as the default interface and has been on sale in the US since April.

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However, a planned European summer launch of the phone has been cancelled following as critical US response to Facebook Home. Home, which replaces the Android home screen with a streamed Facebook updates and images, has garnered poor reviews in the US, and achieved a disappointing level of downloads from Google Play.

Because of this, Facebook will be redesigning its mobile interface before it is released in the wider world. Pre-orders for the HTC First in Europe will be cancelled and the launch delayed indefinitely.

EE issued a statement yesterday indicating that the impetus for the cancellation had come from Facebook.

"Following customer feedback, Facebook has decided to focus on adding new customisation 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."

Similar statements have been issued by other European carriers such as Orange, and there are signs that AT&T may be about to drop the HTC First in the US.

The cancellation represents a severe blow for HTC, which has suffered poor financial performance over the last year, and also for Facebook, which is seeing usage rates dropping in the UK and which desperately needs to maintain a presence on mobile platforms if it is to see advertising revenues increased.

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