HTC First and 6 Other Doomed Single-Purpose Phones
Michael A. Prospero, LAPTOP Reviews Editor
You'll have to excuse my skepticism over the HTC First. After all, this isn't the first time someone -- not even Facebook -- has come out with a handheld device that has one specific function in mind. The track record for these gadgets isn't great. And once Facebook Home rolls out to other smartphones, what will be the point of the First?
Normally, I agree with the premise that you should do one thing well, but phones need to be more versatile. Here's a look at a few other single-purpose devices that didn't make it.
HTC Status (2011)
The HTC Status was the precursor to the HTC First. A little Facebook button let you quickly post to that social network, but slow data speeds and a small and low-res screen limited its appeal. Next.
ASUS's navigation-centric phone was the last gasp for Garmin as it tried to remain relevant in a world where every smartphone has GPS built in. While the Garminfone did offer some useful navigation features, the rest of the phone -- like the dated Android OS -- felt misguided.
The best camera in the worst phone, the Nokia 808 PureView had a massive 41-MP sensor, but ran the already outdated Symbian OS and had a low-resolution screen, which made it difficult to enjoy the gorgeous photos it took.
Facebook wasn't the first company to try and put social networking front and center on a phone. Microsoft tried the same thing with the Kin One and Kin Two. Unlike the HTC First, these phones let you add both Twitter and Facebook. Too bad its interface was like traveling down the rabbit hole inside a labyrinth.
Who would like a device that's too bulky as a phone, but not as powerful as a dedicated portable gaming platform? That's just what the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play offered. At 6.2 ounces, it was still one of the heavier phones, and yet its controls were much smaller and harder to operate than the Sony PlayStation Portable.