Ahead of its launch, the HTC Thunderbolt was supposed to be the phone that changed mobile in a big way. It was the first ever 4G LTE phone, a fact Verizon was undoubtedly proud to boast in its advertising campaigns. Beyond that, it actually seemed like quite the decent phone. It had the latest version of Android (at the time), interesting new features through HTC Sense, and cutting edge hardware.
But the phone launched, and opinions on it quickly soured. Between absolutely dreadful battery life, a smorgasbord of bugs, and the eventual nonexistent after-market support (it only got Ice Cream Sandwich just recently), the HTC Thunderbolt quickly became the running joke of the smartphone world. Even the great Steve Wosniak decided to poke it with a stick, saying it was one of the worst phones he’s ever owned. (And, as we know now, he wasn’t just saying that because of his ties to Apple.) It’s a shame, really, because it seemed to be a fine phone otherwise.
HTC and Verizon have never really owned up to the phone’s botched existence, nor would we expect them to. That’s why we were surprised to see an HTC employee hop onto Reddit and make this blunt statement in response to someone expressing their distaste for the Thunderbolt: “Sorry to hear about the experience. Sorry about the Thunderbolt in general. It was a difficult project. I wish we didn’t destroy your trust in us, but I understand why you do feel that way.”
The message continued on with the employee, identified as Erick Nielsen, wishing for users to give HTC another chance to get back into their good graces. The company certainly made a valiant effort of doing that with the HTC One, and you would know why we believe it’s the phone to do the trick by reading our official review.
Still, we wondered just how much of Nielsen’s comments reflected on the company as a whole. These are the types of comments we typically see vanish into nothingness, with the employee’s LinkedIn account either being wiped out or changed to remove affiliation with the company they were representing. That wasn’t the case here.
Instead, Erick Nielsen edited his Reddit post to clarify that his statements shouldn’t be taken as the gospel of HTC, reminding everyone that he’s not a part of HTC’s marketing or public relations team. He expressed gratefulness for HTC’s willingness to allow employees to interact with the community, and conceded in embarrassment as he came to the realization that he probably shouldn’t have said what he did (especially in a community like Reddit where anything and everything can go insta-viral at a moment’s notice).
It’s quite noble of HTC to allow the comments to stick to the web — we don’t mind seeing a little humility from these mobile giants from time to time. Having said that, we wouldn’t be surprised if we learned HTC kindly reminded Erick to check in with the PR team before making any such statements again. For the time being, rest easy knowing at least some of HTC’s employees take a sense of pride in the company’s products and have a genuine desire to please those who spend their hard earned dollars with them each and every day.
thank the heavens for devs
Agreed, the devs on XDA turned this lemon into lemonade, it was a great phone with the right custom rom.
Same thing with the Rezound. The devs made it possible to get a fully working ICS build months before Verizon finally decided to release it.
I loved the thunderbolt flaws and all. The best part was the kickstand that was very sturdy and really set it apart from other phones
True. The battery sucked but it was a good phone. They need a new one but to be slim and have a great battery.
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It’s older brother the evo had one
It’s a bit late now for apologies…
“Public relations team”? All those people are is people who know how to word things in a nice way, that’s all. They don’t actually play an instrumental role Inna companies going on’s.
I never really had much of a problem with my Thunderbolt, aside from the lack of support regarding updates. Even the dev community never was really able to get it past Gingerbread due to the radios.
That said, I always snicker when my boyfriend calls it the “Blunderbolt”.
I want them to apologize about the rezound
I would like to hear an apology for the Evo 3d
Regardless, owning the Thunderbolt means I will never own another HTC product. They have shown a willingness as a company to ignore a product that becomes a burden to maintain and leave the the owners with no support. I don’t want to risk them doing that again. Thunderbolt was their flagship phone when it was introduced, and it had barely launched before they moved all support to the next phone. Never again, HTC.
Same thing with the Rezound. It was their flagship phone for like 2 months then they (Verizon, mostly) pretty much forgot about it. The battery absolutely sucked, updates were extremely slow, the phone was locked down like Fort Knox, etc.. After having two HTC phones (Incredible and Rezound), I’m staying away from them for a while. I think I’m going to get the S4.
I have the Droid DNA. The battery is good. The reason this happens is because its an exclusive and not that many have it compared to the One X that was on AT&T. This is why SGS series gets updates quicker, because Samsung doesn’t really release the side flagships.
Regardless of whether or not a phone is a “flagship phone” it should get updates just as quickly as the rest. It’s a pretty shi**y attitude for them to have: “oh you didn’t buy into our marketing bit and decided to buy a cheaper phone? Have fun getting timely updates!”.
Look at the high-end Samsung flagships that aren’t in the “Note” or “Galaxy S” line. They won’t get them any quicker than devices that are in the main flagship line. Look at the Samsung Droid Charge. It got stuck on android 2.3, but the T-Bolt updated to ICS.
Samething with the Desire HD… and that was worst… they said that they would make a 4.0 rom and they lied about that
Same thing happen with the HTC Evo3D. It was marketed as a flagship phone for months and then basically dropped when sales were sluggish.
My old Captivate is a shining example of how Samsung falls short of their promises as well. Besides Nexus devices who really has a good track record?
Dude Samsung is night and day difference since then, hell the galaxy 2 has jelly bean!
I had the G1 & G2. The G1 was great……First Android device. The G2 was a joke. The flagship device for T Mobile, it went end of life after 7 months, which meant any updates were not to arrive. It was a sturdy build, but quite buggy. I still have it as an emergency back up to my GNex. I don’t plan on buying HTC until I know for certain they can build a quality device and maintain that for some time.
I loved my G2 and the kids have them bought outright off Amazon. Custom ROM and its all good. Guess its in the eye if the beholder.
Likewise with the European version of sorts, the Desire HD. The lack of support for this phone was dreadful despite the larger user base. I would love to love HTC again and I know how much love the One is getting but I’m never going back to them until I see a change to their support.
Unfortunately HTC’s problems don’t lie only with the Thunderbolt but also its “successor” the Rezound. I am so turned off after owning 2 HTC phones that I will no longer go back until proven otherwise by testimonials of MANY users.
I am now finishing year two with my HTC Sensation 4G. Yes I unlocked it and put CM 10 on it and it runs like a champ. I expect to be using this phone another year. Switch to pay as you go and save save save.
Unfortunately, apologies or not, HTC didn’t learn from their mistakes. Future phones still don’t have big enough batteries.
Which is why they should at least be removable. My Droid Bionic has unbelievably shitty battery life, but I can easily pop in a second one when I need to.
Yeah, not only does HTC not learn from its own mistakes, it doesn’t even learn from competitors. Look at the RAZR MAXX HD with non-removable battery; it packs 3300mAh.
The HTC ThunderBolt was totally awesome the first few months, then the updates began & things started going wrong. I won’t bore you with the details, but I’m going to upgrade to the Note 2. I was thinking of the DNA, but I need more than 16 gigs of memory. It was great while it lasted.
Sounds more like a Verizon problem i have owned Evo 4g Evo 3d Evo lte now Htc One also had the Note 2 had to try. i like htc phones never had any real problems all root easy and custom roms
I was one of those Thunderbolt owners who then jumped to the Rezound. Talk about out of the pot and into the fire. That was the best phone supposed when I bought it, paid full price and is yet to get any serious upgrades. HTC has failed on both those phones. Don’t think I will buy another HTC device for a very long time. Too bad I bought nothing but HTC, I bought the Nexus One, MyTouch 4g, Thunderbolt and Rezound. I still have all 4 devices and use none of them. Screw me once shame on you, screw me twice shame on me.
Agreed, Thunderbolt was the biggest piece of crap I ever owner. It left a bad taste in my mouth for HTC. However after owning the S3 and Note 2, both of which i really liked, I was ready for a change in style. The S4 is a great phone, but the HTC One caught my attention. I’ve had it for a week and love it. Yes, I wish it had a replaceable battery, but so far so good.
If Samsung had changed the style of their phone, I would have never looked at the One. So come on Samsung, how about a little hardware innovation.
apologize for lack of updates. Bayer life was a learning process. I know someone who still likes the thunderbolt to this day.
Thunderbolt… Ugh I don’t miss that mistake.. Nothing I could do would make it a good phone, rooting, new ROMs. I would get mysterious 40-50% battery drops in like an hour. It overheated.. This all happened on several replacements as well. I did think the screen was nice at the time.
With an extended battery and a CM7/leankernel combo.. The Thunderbolt was absolutely wonderful, and my favorite phone of years past.
As-is, stock, out of the box? Horrendous, embarrassing, shameful.
My two year-old Thunderbolt started running like garbage after the ICS update. I have a warranty, so I contacted Verizon and they sent me a replacement with a defective speakerphone. Contacted them AGAIN and they sent me another replacement, this one with connectivity issues. Counting my original, that was three TBs in two weeks. They finally sent me a Motorola Droid Razr. Works beautifully. Like a lot of people here have already said, I will not be getting another HTC phone. You don’t ignore a problem child, you work towards improving it if you can. They barely even tried with the TB.
Couldnt have been as bad as the Evo 4g, I had to lug a couple of spare batterys around all the time with that phone, wich now is used as a digital clock.