Facebook delays smartphone launch in Europe after disappointing sales

28/05/2013

Facebook has postponed the European launch of its ‘First’ smartphone following disappointing US sales and negative feedback.

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The handset, made by HTC, runs Facebook's enhanced Home interface, designed to be more integrated into the smartphone than a normal app.

UK mobile operator EE confirmed that "following customer feedback" the Europe launch had been stalled.

In a statement, Facebook said it had been listening to users' "experiences" of the software.
"While many people love it, we've heard a lot of great feedback about how to make Home substantially better. As a result we're focusing the next few months on adding customisation features that address the feedback we received. While we focus on making Home better, we are going to limit supporting new devices and think it makes a lot of sense for EE and Orange to hold off deploying the HTC First in Europe."

Mark Zuckerberg launched Home on the promise it would "change the relationship" people have with their phones.

The free-to-download software effectively replaces the phone's home screen with a Facebook feed and chat options.

It was initially exclusively available on HTC's First smartphone, before being rolled out to a selection of other Android-powered handsets.

HTC had hoped the Facebook deal would boost sales of the First device, but the handset has since been heavily discounted - and dropped by AT&T, the biggest US mobile network.

UK mobile network EE said it would contact customers who had shown an interest in the device.

"[Facebook] have recommended holding off launching the HTC First in the UK," the company said.

"Rest assured, we remain committed to bringing our customers the latest mobile experiences, and we will continue to build on our strong relationship with Facebook so as to offer customers new opportunities in the future."

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