HTC is simply unstoppable! On the 2nd day of the CTIA Wireless 2010, the company announced its own online store, available immediately at this address:
The site, available to US customers, is very friendly and easy to navigate - in fact, we think this is its biggest advantage over other retailers, such as Amazon, that have complex and convoluted mobile shopping sites.
There are 4 sections on the HTC site:
- Phone Finder/Quick Start - this is the home page, which allows you to filter by carrier, plan, and phone features, or just look at what's available in your zip code
- Phones - explore, filter by carrier, read phone stats, and compare multiple phones to each other
- Rate Plans - filter by plan type (individual, family, prepaid), study plan details, and compare multiple plans to each other (this seems quite useful)
- Accessories - buy accessories by entering your phone model
You can explore phones and rate plans from all 4 major US mobile carriers (AT&T, Sprint-Nextel, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless) and then buy directly from the site.
If you are looking to upgrade instead, it looks like HTC's site supports both phone and plan upgrades.
Free shipping on orders over $50.
Sales tax on the full price of the phone in every state that charges it - pretty standard stuff.
As far as returns go, there is a 15-day money back guarantee and a 30-day satisfaction guarantee (exchange instead of money back).
Under The Hood
After a bit of digging around, we found that HTC's new site is actually outsourced to (or rather, affiliated with) another company called LetsTalk.com - a mobile online retailer in business since 1999.
We did not expect this from HTC. Let's hope that they will stand behind their new site and products and crack the whip at LetsTalk at any sign of trouble.
So check out the site and report back with your experience. The worst thing that will happen is you will become a better UI designer because, frankly, it is just super.