BGR has confirmed that HTC and Facebook’s little experiment is nearing its end. BGR has learned from a trusted source that sales of the HTC First have been shockingly bad. So bad, in fact, that AT&T has already decided to discontinue the phone.
Wow. Remember how proud the HTC CEO was at the Facebook Home launch? I have a strange feeling he’s not too pleased any more. Turns out people aren’t feeling the need for a Facebook phone after all.
But that’s hardly the entire phone market. It’s actually only a fraction of it.
What about those millions of people who have bought Android phones — and some iPhones, probably — who don’t really care that they’re Android phones, or even smartphones? The types of people who, every couple of years, go into the Verizon or AT&T shop and walk out with whatever newish thing the store rep says they should buy? (All those people who buy Android phones but don’t really show up in usage logs.) Or even first-time smartphone buyers? My guess is that many — most? — of these people are Facebook users, and could easily see some utility in having Facebook features highlighted on their phones. And — bonus — Facebook’s software looks good. Much better than the junk that ships with typical low-end Android devices.
Boom. Done. Easy, defensible purchase, assuming the price is right.
Some people just don’t give a shit about the things that nerds do. Plenty of people my age use their phones for only Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Will the HTC First do well? Probably not, but I don’t think Facebook should stop trying.
But if and when they do, stretching the screen offers less complexity, and less impact on both iOS and developers. That’s how you expand a product without expanding panel production or developer support headaches. It’s an Apple-like solution.
Apple hasn’t released a big phone yet because they haven’t had to in order to be successful. If it does release one, the history of the MacBook line and the release of the iPad Mini indicate that a 5-inch iPhone would have interface elements of the same size as those on the 9.7-inch iPad and the same pixel density screen as the iPad 3/4.
I find this theory likely because it a) makes logistical sense, which makes it seem like something right up Tim Cook’s alley, and b) it lets Apple cover even more price points. My addition to the theory: Apple also release a 5-inch iPod touch Plus at $299, and makes the 4-inch iPod touch the $199 model. That would make the $200 model a steal of a bargain and the $299 model an even lower-priced tablet option than the iPad Mini. This also has the benefit of an easy upsell: Apple won’t include a cellular radio in an iPod touch. If you want LITE, you either need to buy an iPhone (and if you want the big screen too, an iPhone Plus) or an iPad.
The airwaves that FCC officials want to hand over to the public would be much more powerful than existing WiFi networks that have become common in households. They could penetrate thick concrete walls and travel over hills and around trees. If all goes as planned, free access to the Web would be available in just about every metropolitan area and in many rural areas.
The new WiFi networks would also have much farther reach, allowing for a driverless car to communicate with another vehicle a mile away or a patient’s heart monitor to connect to a hospital on the other side of town.
Seems like a pretty amazing plan. Here’s the opposition:
Some Republican lawmakers have criticized Genachowski for his idea of creating free WiFi networks, noting that an auction of the airwaves would raise billions for the U.S. Treasury.
That sentiment echoes arguments made by companies such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, Intel and Qualcomm, in a letter to the FCC staff late last month, that the government should focus its attention on selling the airwaves to businesses.
So that’s another industry that has bought the Republicans.
One way to look at it: someone is going to benefit from this radio spectrum. Who should it be: the telecoms, or everyone else?