Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How Not to Launch a Phone

The HTC Thunderbolt has seen many speculative release dates come and go
You could consider this post somewhat cathartic. You could also consider this post a lesson: how not to launch a phone.

The news of Verizon's first 4G LTE handset, the HTC Thunderbolt, released in January has garnered much excitement. Once Best Buy began taking pre-orders that excitement was doubled over with anticipation. Ever since then, sources have offered rumored release dates from February until the end of the summer.

It's not difficult to see why so many consumers, myself included, are growing weary waiting for this device to launch.  Sources including Best Buy and Verizon employees have offered much conflicting information. The message from Verizon's corporate offices: it will be arriving soon. Thanks.

Verizon has been advertising the Thunderbolt since mid-February through television commercials, and Best Buy promo flyers have been advertising the device as well. Needless to say, evidence is mounting that Verizon has officially screwed the pooch with the HTC Thunderbolt's launch.

Verizon keeps reminding consumers that no official launch has been announced; however, anyone who has followed this device for longer than a week has picked up that this is more than consumer speculation run rampant. Why would Best Buy take pre-orders for a device that won't launch for over a month? Also, why would the Thunderbolt appear in numerous ads so far from its launch, including a recent release from Big Red claiming the device was already available - opps? Anyone that has sat through 5 minutes of an intro to marketing class could tell you that the timing would do nothing but lose consumer interest.

It would be easy to go back-and-forth on when the release will/should be, but I believe this marketing blunder raises a more interesting point: Will HTC ever trust Verizon to launch another flagship device of this significance? I am a long-time satisfied Verizon consumer, but the handling of this launch has me wondering if they're capable of handling the release of technology's next evolutionary developments.


  1. Just don't settle for a phone you don't want. Wait this one out.

  2. I plan on it. Worst-case-scenario it's delayed until the summer and the other LTE devices that were scheduled for April come out and I end up with a Droid Bionic or LG. As satisfied as I have been with VZW, I can't believe they've botched this launch the way they have.