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HTC ThunderBolt: Talk is Cheap, Where are The Pre-Orders?



There’s been a ton of interest in the Verizon Thunderbolt by HTC since it was announced, but relatively few people have actually voted for Verizon’s first 4G phone with their wallets.

As I wrote a few days ago, I put my name on the HTC Thunderbolt waiting list at a San Francisco Best Buy store. To put my name on the list all I had to do was buy a $50 Best Buy gift card that could be used towards the $249.99 purchase price of the Thunderbolt. If I decide I don’t want to go through with the purchase I can return the card or use it to buy anything else from the store.

The Thunderbolt looks like a very solid device and one I plan on using regularly. I’m a long-time iPhone user and look forward to getting up to speed on Android apps. I plan on using the Thunderbolt’s WiFi hotspot feature to replace my Sprint Overdrive, which I returned at the beginning of the month.

There’s a lot to like about the Thunderbolt, but while there’s a ton of interest in the HTC Thunderbolt articles here at GBM and elsewhere. Some of our articles about Verizon’s first 4G phone received hundreds of Facebook Shares, Twitter mentions and comments. So I was surprised to find that there were only a couple of dozen people ahead of me.

My name is 27th on the HTC Thunderbolt list at the biggest Best Buy store in San Francisco, a city that’s overflowing with Android fans and app developers. As of yesterday morning, there were only a dozen Thunderbolt pre-orders at a store just south of San Francisco and less than 20 at the second San Francisco Best Buy store. Those numbers, while anecdotal, are very low considering that Best Buy began taking Thunderbolt pre-orders on February 6.

If that’s all the pre-sales Best Buy can muster in a month in the middle of geek land, which is covered by Verizon’s 4G LTE network, I can only wonder how few Thunderbolts were sold at Best Buys far removed from Silicon Valley. Much of the country isn’t covered by 4G LTE, which means that part of the sales pitch will be lost on many mobile phone shoppers.

Best Buy is the ‘exclusive’ nationwide Thunderbolt retailer, but you will be able to pick them up at Verizon stores as well starting tomorrow. Best Buy’s selling the HTC Thunderbolt for $249.99 to new Verizon customers and those eligible for an upgrade. The Thundebolt will aslo be available at Verizon stores beginning Thursday. The phone is already available for order from Wirefly for $199.99.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    03/16/2011 at 6:29 pm

    Low pre-order sales from Best Buy?

    Who cares? The TB did not have a release date for it so why would anyone want to pre-order a phone that they have no idea when it will be released?

    Couple that with the fact that the 3/17 release date is within a month of the iPhone 4 and Motorola Xoom release.

    BB wants you in the store. The $50 “gift card” they make you purchase is simply a gimmick. How many people will actually refund the card versus simply applying it to another purchase?

    The fact that BB jumped the gun by taking pro-orders is no reflection on the potential sales of the device.

    You lend too much creedence to BB.

    I have an 3G and a DroinInc. I am anxious to get my TB. I ordered from Wirefly. $199

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