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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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik