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.