Despite the HTC First’s failure to catch on, AT&T Mobility has finally cleared its stock of Facebook phones thanks to a drastic price drop to 99 cents, the company’s CEO Ralph de la Vega revealed on Monday in an interview with CNET.
The carrier declined to reveal how many HTC First handsets it sold in total, or what kind of profit or loss it saw on the Facebook phone. However, De la Vega noted that although the device may have been a flop it was worth it for AT&T to form a strong relationship with Facebook, which he believes will be a major player in the mobile market in the near future.
De la Vega compared the HTC First to another early attempt to conquer the smartphone market that flopped but paved the way for AT&T to profit: Apple’s iPhone predecessor, the Motorola ROKR. The first iTunes phone, which the carrier also supported, may have been a failure, but that business partnership helped AT&T gain exclusive access to the iPhone when it launched 16 months later.
Is De la Vega suggesting Facebook may follow Apple’s trajectory and make its own hardware? The social network doesn’t have the same background in hardware design that allowed Apple to succeed, but whatever Zuckerberg does with Facebook Home next, AT&T will likely support the company’s efforts. We imagine, though, that this is the end of the road for the HTC First.