updated 10:07 am EDT, Thu May 23, 2013
Facebook Home smartphone pulled before UK launch
HTC has pulled its impending launch of the HTC First in the United Kingdom, after enduring a poor reception in the United States. The Android smartphone, preloaded with the Facebook Home launcher, has failed to take off in the US, despite AT&T's attempts to revive the device by selling it on-contract for $1 instead of its original $99 price.
Sources of Mobile News claimed the carrier had pulled the device on Facebook's command, and that customers of EE would be informed that pre-orders for the HTC First will not be fulfilled. This has since been confirmed in a statement by EE to Engadget, stating "Following customer feedback, Facebook has decided to focus on adding new customization 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."
The HTC First was the first to launch with Facebook Home already installed, and though it had a 4.3-inch display, a dual-core Snapdragon 400 processor and Android 4.1 at its core, it hasn't attracted enough of an audience for any carrier to really stock the device.
The Facebook Home launcher, downloadable to a number of Android devices, replaces the home screen and app launcher typically associated with Android with more sociable versions. The home screen, titled Cover Feed, shows updates from a user's Facebook feed, while the Chat Heads contact system combines messages from various sources for the same contact into a single icon, one which hovers above all other applications. Currently, it sits between 1 million and 5 million downloads on Google Play, with an average rating of two and a half stars from almost 18,000 reviews.