Feb 8th, 2011

Rumors have been swirling about the HTC Thunderbolt and it’s rumored delays and Mobile Hotspot feature. While Skype not being prepared in time for launch was one of the reasons we’d been given by tipsters, we suggested that timing and strategy could also come into play. We’re now learning exactly what that strategy might be.

According to our sources, Verizon is delaying the launch of the Thunderbolt to ensure those purchasing the Verizon iPhone don’t have buyer’s remorse and return their iPhone for an Android. With Verizon’s new (non-coincidental) 14-day return policy, that would put the Thunderbolt launch date at February 24th or beyond to escape new Verizon iPhone owners from returning/exchanging for the TB. New information is suggesting that buyer’s remorse could strike iPhone owners after finding out the Thunderbolt will:

  1. Have Free 4G Hotspot capabilities
  2. Allow simultaneous voice and data

These are two features the Verizon iPhone won’t have. And then in the 2nd Quarter we’re hearing the Droid Incredible will launch with Global 3G connectivity/capabilities… something else the iPhone doesn’t have. It’s possible the hardware has the capability to connect globally and Verizon is locking it down, but that’s another issue altogether.

We won’t likely ever hear the official reason the HTC Thunderbolt is/was delayed, but I would be surprised to find out if strategically timing it around the iPhone wasn’t an issue. The iPhone will move massive numbers and the Thunderbolt already has a large and growing following, so attempting to maximize their sales with timing tactics makes sense. Unfortunately, it could come at the expense of some customers who would’ve preferred to switch back to Android after trying the iPhone.

There are plenty of people that would disagree including the folks at iSource.com – I can appreciate their point. Remember that iPhone vs. EVO 4G cartoon where the iPhone user doesn’t care WHAT the Android Phone’s features are, they want an iPhone no matter what? I can imagine many of the initial Verizon iPhone customers won’t care WHAT is being launched on the Android side… they just want a Verizon iPhone much like cartoon guy wants an iPhone and doesn’t care about the EVO 4G that prints money.

That being said, I’ve spoken with plenty of people personally who aren’t sure whether to get an iPhone or Android so I know there are a lot of people in between. Verizon is trying to prevent this group from changing their minds. It isn’t cheap for someone to change their mind with restocking, repackaging, phone becoming technically “used”, customer service which costs overhead, and much more.

The iPhone is a great device and all… but obviously Verizon isn’t foolish enough to think every Apple owner will be so happy with their purchase they’d never consider switching to Android. The choice may have been more clear to typical consumers in the past, but Android is now seen on par with Apple if not exceeding them. And if you don’t believe me, let’s see how many people complain about lack of Hotspot, lack of simultaneous voice-and-data, and the DINC2 being able to connect globally when the iPhone hits Verizon on the 10th.

local_offer    HTC Thunderbolt  Verizon