2011 saw the introduction of widespread 4G LTE and the devices that support the next-generation network that can pull down speeds 10 times faster than those of normal 3G. One of the companies responsible for said devices was HTC which came out with the first widespread 4G LTE smartphone in the HTC ThunderBolt, a phone that many (myself included) think is up there with the worse smartphone launches of all time.
On its earnings call, HTC somewhat agreed with that sentiment with company Chief Financial Officer Winston Yung saying that the company had “dropped the ball” with its 2011 4G LTE lineup saying that the designs of the handsets were too thick and that they had less than adequate battery life.
And while Yung didn’t single out the HTC ThunderBolt, you can rest assured that it was a big cause of that statement.
Not only is the ThunderBolt a somewhat clunky phone design-wise, it also has/had terrible battery life on Verizon’s 4G LTE network. It was also plagued by countless bugs, problems likely caused consumers to (myself included) stay away from the HTC Rezound, which, as it turns out, has emerged as one of the best 4G LTE phones on the market.
Even so, Yung exclaimed that the products the company rolled out during the fourth quarter of 2011 were not selling as well as the company had hoped. HTC’s revenue for the quarter reflects that with the company reporting a dip on the year-to-year for Q4.
The tone that the ThunderBolt set in 2011 has a lot to do with that. You can talk about aesthetics all you want but the moral of story is this. The ThunderBolt was a buggy phone with horrid battery life but it sold.
And those that were unfortunate enough to buy the phone, and many did as it was the first 4G LTE handset, took to the internet to complain. But don’t just think ThunderBolt owners took it to forums.
They told their friends.
They told their co-workers.
They told their family members.
In other words, they told average consumers that an HTC-made phone had poor battery life and tons of bugs. Forget the clunky design. Not good and the effects were definitely residual.
The company hopes to reverse course with its releases in 2012 and the company has already stated that it will release fewer phones this year and focus on pushing out quality ones instead.
It’ll also have the HTC Titan II Windows Phone out on AT&T, a phone that was announced back at CES 2012.
Will they be enough to restore the company’s 4G LTE image, an image that was clearly tainted by the ThunderBolt?
We should find out at MWC 2012.