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AT&T drops Facebook phone to 99 cents

Home is where the apathy is as $99.99 price slashed by 99 per cent

Photo of HTC First with Facebook Home

Facebook's long game looks to be an attempt to create a shadow web by making the site a reasonable substitute for almost anything one does online.

Why wade through Reddit when your friends share content on Facebook? Or bother with Flickr or Picasa when Facebook will store your snaps? Messaging also happens quite happily within the site's tender embrace. And so on and so forth.

Extending that idea so Facebook became the place mobile users start their online activities, instead of hoping they'll go to all the trouble of opening an app, must therefore have seemed a splendid idea to one M. Zuckerberg. He duly gave us Facebook Home, the Android skin that puts Facebook in mobe-users' faces before they get to do much else.

Reports quickly emerged of user apathy and poor download and installation rates. Now AT&T has reduced the price of the HTC First, the first Facebook phone that was released at the keen price of $US99.99 on a two-year contract.

As of today, however, AT&T's selling it for just $0.99 on a two-year contract.

Facebook Home was announced on April 4th, so that's just over a month between triumphant launch and tail-between-legs slinking away into the corner.

At the time of writing the Home app was number 317 on the Google Play store's hit parade , ten places ahead of Microsoft Sky Drive and ten behind Google Tracks.

Social networks have a history of swift and irresistible declines. Just ask MySpace, Habbo or Friends Reunited how their comeback plans went.

This story won't go so far as to declare Peak Facebook is upon us, as it has a billion users and the inertia that comes with holding all those photos, a precious asset many users won't want to leave behind.

Yet it's now clear Facebook Home isn't the way to make the site more relevant to members on the move, as they appear utterly resistant to the idea of a Zuckerbergian filter for their mobes. Nor did Graph Search, initially billed as a Google-killer, set the world on fire.

So, Mr Zuckerberg, what's your next trick ... bitch? ®

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