updated 04:40 pm EDT, Thu March 31, 2011
BTIG says Thunderbolt and iPhone sales even
Sales of the HTC Thunderbolt was outselling the iPhone at Verizon by a slight margin, BTIG analyst Walter Piecyk said Thursday [free reg. required]. After checking anecdotally with 150 Verizon stores, he found that 61 percent claimed to have sold just as many of both phones in the past week. The Thunderbolt was more popular when an imbalance came; 28 percent of all stores said the 4G Android phone was more popular, while 11 percent said Apple was stronger at their shops.
About 10 percent were sold out of the Thunderbolt, Piecyk said. He cautioned that the results weren't based on hard numbers and that the actual results could be different.
Of those buying it, virtually all said they were buying for the 4G speed. Some, however, had seen returns from the poor battery life, which from multiple reports can often sit at just four to 4.5 hours with significant 4G use.
The results were at least partly helped by the Thunderbolt having launched just two weeks earlier. Retail staff were confident the Thunderbolt would keep up, but most devices usually see sales slow down in the first few weeks after launch. Apple may have come out on top, however. While the Verizon iPhone launched to modest lines, it may have kept up that initial demand and resisted the usual slump.
Verizon won't quantify its iPhone sales, and possibly the Thunderbolt's, until its quarterly results report. The company said on the record that 60 percent of iPhones sold online and thus that retail didn't completely reflect its sales. Apple may also have a unique advantage, since it can sell through its own store as well as Verizon's where the Thunderbolt has to go through both Verizon and considerably smaller third-party resellers.