Apparently, the idea of a Facebook phone is not quite catching on as some thought it would. The HTC First, that guy that was launched with Facebook Home UI built in, has had a very unimpressive run in the market since its debut. There have been talk about AT&T discontinuing the device due to low sales. Now, we read that the proposed launch of the HTC First in the UK has been cancelled and no pre-orders will be honoured.
Apparently, not a lot of people want a Facebook phone.
The standalone app, Facebook Home UI itself, has been more or less a flop. As at about two weeks ago, news reports said that it had not hit a million downloads. That was over a month after its launch. Facebook itself has a subscriber base of about a billion, so you get the picture. Of course, the download figures are not helped by the fact that only a limited number of handsets can run Facebook Home for now. But I really doubt that it is just that. Chat Heads are fun (though I eventually found them a nuisance and disabled the feature on my phone), but a home UI that takes over an Android user’s launcher and lock screen just doesn’t seem like good idea. Errrr…so this app displays the latest status updates from my Facebook friends. That doesn’t sound like an exciting proposition to me.
People are not downloading Facebook Home UI, and people are not buying the HTC First. Coincidence? I doubt it. For now, that suggests to me that not a lot of people really want a Facebook phone. Facebook is not iOS. It is not Google. It is not an ecosystem by any stretch. It is a standalone app and is not likely to be engaging enough to generate the desired pull. Perhaps Facebook might evolve one day and future iterations of the Facebook Home UI will bring changes that will ramp up desire and demand. But for now, the idea of a Facebook phone is bland and holds no excitement for many users.