Launch of HTC 'Facebook' phone put on hold in Europe

May 24, 2013 at 9:18 PM
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BRUSSELS, May 24 (UPI) -- Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC says the European launch of its "Facebook phone" has been delayed following disappointing U.S. sales and negative reviews.

The HTC First handset runs Facebook's enhanced Home software, designed to be integrated into the smartphone more tightly than a normal app.

Home was launched by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg who said it would "change the relationship" people have with their phones.

However, British mobile provider EE confirmed that "following customer feedback" the Europe launch had been put back, the BBC reported Friday.

Orange was another European carrier preparing to offer the First.

One of the smartphone industry's major players several years ago, HTC has seen a precipitous drop in its sales and a raft of high-level executives leaving the company.

HTC income fell to its lowest level in eight years towards the end of 2012.

The company had been hoping the Facebook deal would boost sales of the First device, but the handset has since been heavily discounted and even dropped by AT&T in the United States.

Facebook said it was aware of dissatisfaction with its Home software.

"While many people love it, we've heard a lot of great feedback about how to make Home substantially better," the social networking site said in a statement.

"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."

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