Verizon HTC One: How Not to Launch a Smartphone

The Verizon HTC One is coming to shelves at some point this summer but unfortunately, consumers don’t know exactly when. Of course, this is just one of the missteps that the Verizon HTC One release has taken on its way to shelves, a release that has been one of the most confusing smartphone launches in recent memory.

In February of this year, HTC announced a brand new flagship smartphone in the HTC One, a device that replaced the HTC One X, HTC EVO 4G LTE and the HTC One X+ on shelves with a host of big time smartphone features.

The Verizon HTC One launch has been one of the most bizarre in recent memory.

The Verizon HTC One launch has been one of the most bizarre in recent memory.

Chief among them, its 4.7-inch 1080p display, quad-core processor, Ultrapixel camera that can capture good low-light photos, a full metal design, 4G LTE data speeds, Android Jelly Bean and of course, the new Sense 5 that comes with sought after features like HTC BlinkFeed and HTC Zoe for photography and video.

Needless to say, it’s one of HTC’s best offerings in years so it’s no wonder why the device landed on more carriers than HTC’s flagships from last year. AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile quickly confirmed the arrival of the HTC One back when it was first launched and all three carriers released the HTC One in April to compete alongside the Samsung Galaxy S4.

However, for many, there has been one carrier looming in the distance for months now, that carrier of course being the nation’s largest 4G LTE service provider, Verizon Wireless.

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For months on end, the Verizon HTC One was a mysterious device and for much of the first half of 2013, it wasn’t clear if the rumors would pan out. Just a short time ago though, Verizon announced the HTC One for arrival this summer, though, that hasn’t cleared up all of the details. In fact, the Verizon HTC One remains a mystery, continuing its reign as one of the worst smartphone launches in recent memory.

This is how not to launch a smartphone.

Step #1: Wait to Confirm

The Verizon HTC One was rumored for months before getting official.

The Verizon HTC One was rumored for months before getting official.

Since February, rumors have swirled about the Verizon HTC One. And it wasn’t until just a few short weeks ago that Verizon finally decided to confirm the device’s arrival.

Verizon is a large company and has millions of customers. But as 4G LTE networks of its competitors grow, the carrier needs to ensure that it keeps its current customers happy and on board. It also of course needs to lure in new customers. One way of doing this is by announcing big name smartphones at launch, rather than months down the road.

One way of doing is this is to not lead consumers on a rat race for information. Instead, confirm the smartphone with the other carriers, even if it’s well-ahead of schedule.

In the case of Verizon, the timing of the HTC One launch was important given that HTC ThunderBolt owners were coming off contract. The ThunderBolt was the carrier’s first LTE smartphone and saw a high adoption rate. While many of those consumers were likely frustrated with HTC, giving them, and others, a choice between a device like the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4 would have been beneficial.

Verizon likely waited until just before the summer to keep buyers of the Droid DNA happy. There were also supply issues with the HTC One. So if there is anywhere to let Verizon off the hook a bit, it’s here.

Still, the fact that Verizon is releasing this phone at least two months after its competitors is ridiculous.

Step #2: Confirm It Without a Release Date, Pricing

Verizon could have made up for lost time had it simply done something that it very rarely does for big name smartphones. Confirm a specific release date and pricing. Unfortunately, it didn’t do that.

With its brief announcement, the carrier confirmed the HTC One for arrival this summer but did not elaborate on a specific release date or pricing, leaving customers in the dark about the two of the devices most important features.

Customers haven’t taken this lightly either. The HTC and Verizon Twitter, Facebook, customer service lines have been inundated with questions from inquiring minds. Their responses? It’s coming this summer.

It would have been understandable if Verizon announced the HTC One several months ago without a concrete release date. But now that we’re heading deeper into the summer and now that AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile have this phone widely available, the least Verizon could have done was offer some specifics.

It gets worse though.

Step #3: Fail to Confirm Even the Most Basic Information

HTC and Verizon won’t even confirm the specifications of the HTC One. That’s right. When asked about the phone’s specs, and if it was going to be the same phone as the other models, HTC had this to say:

Incredible. So what this means is that the Verizon HTC One doesn’t have any specifications, release date or pricing meaning consumers are essentially close to square one.

Our guess is that Verizon is waiting for HTC to roll out the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update for the other HTC One models before it confirms anything. Still, that doesn’t excuse the lack of details entirely.

The Verizon HTC One is still going to be a great phone and it will still sell well, but hopefully, Verizon and other carriers take notice of this launch so as to not duplicate it at any point in the future.

Seriously, it’s hard not to feel bad for those that have been waiting nearly six months to buy this phone.

  

Comments

  1. Kathy Porter says

    Thank you Adam for a very well written piece. There has been so much “trash talk” going on out there regarding Verizon’s behavior over this, it was refreshing to hear a fact based, but you screwed up big, account of this mess. As a customer of Verizon and earlier companies since 1994, this has been an incredibly frustrating time for me. I was ready for my early upgrade in March and have slogged through countless blogs trying to figure out when I might see the HTC One. Needless to say, I am glad Verizon has finally said it is coming, but would love to know when!

  2. Atnor says

    Thanks, good article – right on point.

    I’m one of those Thunderbolt users who became eligible for an “upgrade” a couple months ago, and I’ve been waiting on info about this phone. I “really” need a new phone soon :(

    With the plan I have, it would be cumbersome to switch carriers, but this whole deal has definitely put the thought in my head… they’ve managed to primarily accomplish putting a negative impression of their company in my head.

    I’ll likely pick this phone up this summer via Verizon…. but they’re certainly making it easier to decide to just go ahead, make plans, and leave them next year.

    I’ve only so much patience, and I’m not likely to go through such delays and bad service a second time :)

  3. shawn says

    As a first time Verizon customer and a thunderbolt owner I am very upset about this issue.Not only did tbolt owners get the shaft then,now we are getting it again.We have been stuck with this phone that was sold,never supported (even had a serious lack of accessories), then forgot.Now @27 months on this contra I have ZERO options for a new phone without switching carriers. The only reason I went with Verizon was their coverage.Soon the other carriers will catch up and I will be gone.Stuck with a phone that was a mistake to begin with and over 2 years later absolutely no options from Verizon to get rid of it.

  4. Dixonbunz says

    I’ve been going on Verizon wireless’s website and chatting with their online associates. I always ask them about the release date of the HTC ONe, and they never give a concrete answer. Some days I’m extremely rude and dramatic to them about their answers, and some days I respond to them by following up with non-phone related questions about sports and TV shows. This is what I do to get by, don’t judge me.

  5. Michael says

    I got tired of waiting for Verizon to find their a$$ with both hands regarding the HTC One, and so I jumped ship and went to TMobile. Not only do I love the HTC One, I like not being in a contract, like I was with Verizon, Also, TMobile’s WiFi calling has been a life saver. Before that, I could not get a decent signal in my house (with Verizon or TMobile).

    Verizon’s loss was my gain.

    • Larry says

      Congrats Michael I did the same, my t mobile HTC ONE does better than my Verizon iPhone 5 ya screw the big red v

  6. Samuel says

    You know I find some of you people’s comments,getting all upset over a phone,a phone of all things! Seriously,is this what people have turned into,the kind that freak out when a phone they are looking at doesnt come out when THEY think that it should? For heavens sake its a phone,theres more to life than waiting on a cell phone to come out. I currently have the HTC Rezound and it for the most part does pretty well,minus a few really annoying things,and 4G speeds are very good too,so I would imagine the HTC One has excellent 4G speeds on Verizon as well. Sure,maybe Verizon hasnt released any details,but does it say anywhere on any carrier that they have to release details about any phone that comes out months in advance? No,I do not believe so unless I am missing something. Specs really arent that hard to figure out people,whatever the specs are through the other carriers,most likely that is what the specs will be like for the Verizon version,maybe tweaked a little,but likely the same great phone that CNET has given rave reviews too. And Dixon,you seem like one of those people that just has to find something to be angry about,albeit this time it seems as if youre angry about something rather trivial. Again,it is just a phone,and personally,my life does not revolve around my phone. Sure,I may consider getting the one,but Im also waiting for my contract to expire the end of June this year. I guarantee if you buy it though online that it will be much cheaper than if you wait in line to go and buy it at a retail branch of your carrier. And ya,maybe i do pay a few bucks more for Verizon,but you know what? Ive never had any major problems with them,and sorry,but the other carriers,while they offer cheaper phone plans than Verizon,they cant match Verizons 4G speeds at all,and ya that is a fact because Ive clocked my Rezound at up to 20 megs a second download speeds,pretty fast compared to other similar phones of this same calibur and rank.

    Most people arent willing to be patient because they over-react,but I can certainly wait a little longer because I know my coverage will always be good,as I definitely love HTC phones for sure.

    • Larry says

      Verizon sucks there dude!! And way expensive !! All done here not half the page!! Ya Verizon’s 4g speeds suck!! My HTC blows them away

    • shawn says

      Thank you Sammy boy for your unwanted and unwarranted useless rhetoric. We are not upset just about the release of a phone.Allow me to spell it out for you.It’s about service and lack thereof for which a lot of us pay a good premium for and don’t receive. It’s also about the fact that Verizon sold millions of junk thunderbolts and we have been stuck with it for 2 years with no help from Verizon the whole time.We were left to suffer until we could upgrade and now its past time to upgrade and Verizon wants us to upgrade to a year old DNA or the S4.Sorry you can’t comprehend that any intelligent person does not buy a year old phone and a lot of us don’t like Samsung.As far as living your life around a phone comment,you probably don’t, because you probably work for someone else and you and your phone are not that important.For me my phone is my lifeline,I use it for every part of work,I am a lifelong successfull contractor.So please,unless you have even a miniscule idea of what your talking about,please keep your rhetoric to yourself,because no cares about your opinions

  7. Rob says

    Your story seems to point the weight of blame at HTC (tweets). You KNOW they’d do whatever it takes to sell their phone, especially in the financial shape they’re in. It’s big red that’s gagging them, I’m sure. Verizon likes to keep each level of phone on the market for about a year before replacing it. We are all waiting on big Red here, not the manufacturer.

    Now I have to go play with my kids and throw a ball with the dog because they’re more important than this short message.

  8. j aretsky says

    one of the tweets was from me, and I do realize this stink is the smell of verizon and not HTC. i was just starting to get tired of the canned responses from both parties and HTC is the recipient of just this one tweet nothing more. with that being said, this has been and continues to be a frustrating launch for the people who wan this phone.

  9. dtw says

    I am going to leave big Vred since it is obvious that cdma doesn’t matter to phone manufacturers anymore. Vz is the largest in the USA but our market is no longer as important as emerging markets and the rest of the world is GSM ! Make a phone for the World and ATT / TMo can have it too, get it? Make a phone for Vred and you have get them to commit to some millions of units since it is a special build (not GSM). Phone manufactureres no longer have to cater to Vz and their power trip. It is clear that the time has come to leave this crappy network as the USA competition has almost caught up to them on towers and bandwidth – especially since iphone no longer has monopolized all of ATT bandwidth…..even ATT is faster than Vred now. I had a Thunderbolt and it was fast two years ago before everybody else bought 4g phones – got lucky and cracked the screen two months ago and fell into a Rezound trade but Vnetwork is no longer fast folks . Vred 4g sux in 2013 and it will only get worse as they deploy VoLTE in 2014. I don’t plan on getting stuck into a 2-year renewal to watch this network get even worse in 6 months. Don’t be blinded into thinking it is only phone choices that will be terrible in the coming months. I believe the data will be much worse than today. I have been waiting 3 months for my HTC1 and my wife has been waiting for 18 months for the OneX which never came. I will take my 5 family phones to another network by the end of this month if no One.

    • Jon Gebarowski says

      CDMA and GSM are irrelevant, all carriers are going to VO-LTE. Your phone call will not be on a seperate network, it will work like google voice. This will free up spectrum for other uses.

    • jillxz says

      Unfortunately , Verizon is the best in my area. AT&T is not always reliable . I had them before and switched because of connectivity problems. We don’t have Sprint or T-Mobile here , so it is Verizon. So , just remember that Not everyone can have all these options to chose from inregards to a reliable telco company.

  10. K Davenporte says

    Smells a lot like the great Bionic soap opera of 2011. They seem to be far too immersed in the almighty dollar and not much else.

  11. Azaraith says

    I went ahead and bought the phone and switched to AT&T – I’ve had enough waiting around for Verizon and dealing with them not picking up some of the best phones. I’m happy with AT&T’s service so far.

  12. jova33 says

    Ok, this is one opinion piece I like. Good job on this one Adam. Stay away from the speculation and supposedly confirmed rumours

  13. Jay says

    The obvious truth is that Verizon WANTS HTC and the HTC One to FAIL! They are in bed with Motorola and Samsung….

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