Ina Fried

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HTC First (That Facebook Phone) Drops From 99 Bucks to 99 Cents at AT&T

Just a month after its introduction, AT&T is cutting the contract price for the Facebook Home-equipped HTC First to nearly free for those willing to sign a two-year contract.

Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 12.21.30 PM

The phone, which went on sale for $99 on April 12, is currently priced at 99 cents.

“We do promotions like this all the time,” said AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel, declining to comment on how sales have been for the midrange Android device.

Facebook didn’t comment on sales, either, though a spokesman said, “We think this is a good move by AT&T, and have highlighted the new price on our Facebook Mobile page.

An HTC representative was not immediately available for comment.

The HTC First is the first device to come with Facebook Home software built in, though it is a free download for other phones, and Facebook has updated its messenger software to include the multitasking Chat Heads feature.

The phone, which debuted on AT&T, is also headed to France Telecom-Orange, which plans to sell it in France and in the United Kingdom through its EE joint venture.

Facebook said at the launch of Home that it planned to work with a number of hardware makers to create phones with Home built in. Listed among partners were ZTE, Lenovo, Sony and Huawei.

Update: HTC chimed in with this comment.

“Promotional pricing is common in the mobile industry.”

As for what kind of sales it has seen for the First, the company said, “HTC doesn’t comment on sales outside of our official financial announcements.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work