thunderbolt fishy

Just when we thought that news about the HTC Thunderbolt was going to die down now that the mystery of its long-anticipated launch has been solved, word comes that Best Buy will only be offering the LTE phone at the $249.99 price until March 20 -after which it will be $299.99. While the phone has generated a lot of buzz, it's hard not to view this price hike as Best Buy shooting themselves in the foot.

In a promo post from their website, Best Buy said "The HTC ThunderBolt 4G [sic], a national retail exclusive for Best Buy, will be offered at a special launch price of $249.99 through Saturday, March 19, including all pre-orders. Beginning March 20, the price will be $299.99." Would anyone really pay $300 for the Thunderbolt? While it has aged since then, the HTC EVO 4G was, at the time of its launch, also a much-anticipated release with throngs of Android fans ready to line up - and it retailed for $200. It seems Best Buy and Verizon are trying to topple the standing $200 premium phone price point regime, but $300 might be hard to justify.

Perhaps the bigger question, however, is why would anyone pay $300 for it at BB (after the 20th) when they can simply march down the street to their local Verizon store and purchase it for the original $250? Best Buy's buyback program and warranty offerings may provide some explanation, and some consumers may find those services worthwhile. Still, it's hard to justify a $50 premium for the Best Buy "experience."

Verizon issued a press release today regarding the launch of the Thunderbolt, saying it will be "available on March 17 in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online at www.verizonwireless.com for $249.99 with a new two-year customer agreement." There is no word of that being a limited time only offer, or of any upcoming markups.

If Best Buy holds to their promise to charge $300 (we see no reason that they won't), they will likely lose a lot of sales to Verizon. Sure, they will sell a few overpriced ones to some unsuspecting customers, but if the upcoming hike is making you feel the pressure to buy asap, we would recommend waiting until you are ready and then perhaps taking your business to Verizon, not rushing into a panic as the folks at BB may be trying to spur you to do.

... or you could just head over to Wirefly and snag it at a lower price ($199) than either Best Buy or Verizon.

Source: Best Buy Mobile

Will Shanklin
Will's typical, run-of-the-mill story is that of 'classically-trained actor turned Android smartphone and tablet writer.' If you catch him quoting Shakespeare, it's not because he misses it, but because he desperately wants his Masters in drama to count towards something.

Sir William dwelleth in the fair haven
Chicago; with his fair maid'n Jess and his
trusty cur, Ziggy.
  • Brian

    Just pre-ordered mine thru Wirefly for only $199.00 :D

  • Paolo

    Alex Hussein sucks

  • Bill

    If they are trying to get some of their pre-orders back that were lost this won't work if people are anywhere near smart. Of course there is a lot of people out there like sheep. One leads and the rest follows. LOL

  • Mike

    As a Verizon dealer (own 3 stores) I can elaborate a little on the price. Prices on these devices are high to begin with. Most people don't understand that the average smartphones actual cost in in the 400-600 range. As people want more and more the cost will continue to rise and when the very very distant day comes that it is cheap will only be because something new is out, and this will be old news. A tip i am ordering them at a cost of $572 per device for my stores. We are a business and we expect to earn a living just as all of you do when you go to work. I will be selling them at $699.99 no contract. Price is being set at $299.99 before rebate with 2yr contract. The purpose of this is not to anger anyone just to give some insight.

    • erick

      Well mike I will not be buying from you and as a consumer I have the right to find a the best price for my money

      • Mike

        I completly agree with you and wouldn't expect someone to want anything but the lowest price. When i am not working i too look for the lowest price on products. With that said you will likely have little luck getting it much cheaper than that as most businesses that i know of are indeed for profit.

        • erick

          Wirefly mike $200 now why should I buy from you lol

  • Mike

    Easy question to answer. If you were a customer in my area i would explain to you that wirefly has many hidden things to be aware of and is for some and not for others. If you pay your bill late...not that you will...but if you do they will charge you for the equipment outright. They have many other stipulations if you read their fine print. In addition you lack the instore support you would get from us and the fact that assuming their instock you would get it the same day. We also help you set up and explain the device to you, load your accounts transfer your files and contacts. Who knows maybe the person who came to see us thought this would be the correct product for them and it turns out we were able to find them something that better suits their needs. These are the levels of support you get from us. I realize i can't speak for every other dealer out there but this is what you would expect from my locations. Now sometimes you can get the product at a better price online, realize this comes with sacrafice though. There is minimal overhead and few employees if any at all to assist you, which mean no lease, no payroll, or very little at least. For some customers that are very tech savy this might be the way they wish to go. For others that would like the store support and set up we are the way to go. In my many years in this business, one thing is for sure, if you save somewhere you spend somewhere else( meaning the little things you need done file transfers..ect ect you will pay for elsewhere when you go to get it done) you will also not find near the support as you bought the product from the competition. Most likely the customer will end up spending in or around the same amount in the long run anyways.

  • erick

    Mike you right you need to make a living people need to wake up everyone want latest and best product and a few months you will $ 150 now that hurts

  • Mike

    Yep, no different than any other business, computer, car, tv,ect.....when you buy these items we know that a new one will follow but we buy them anyways.

  • erick

    I can understand that if I was a new customer but im one of those guys that started with a htc g1 and 9 out 10 most customer that buy this phone are tech savy they know what the want and yes wirefly have its up and down but me im going to wait for motorola bionic dual core processor its the best for my money if im going to sign a 2 yr, mike you make a lot of great points and from what you said I will be willing to buy from you because of your honesty

  • Mike

    Thank you, and the price is before rebate, tomorrow i will find out the final map price (min advertised price) for retail stores. Actually you are correct their are alot of tech people out their these days, but their are far less than you think...the people in these forums are a very small percentage of the population and even then alot of them prefer us to move all their info to their new device or want recomendations about the (real world) differences between the devices not just specs on paper. You scored some bonus points there with the Bionic....i too am waiting for that myself. Thats what i will swap my phone out too. Actually while i was typing this i got an email confiriming the final price to be $249.99 no rebates. So i was wrong on the first post as their has been some discrepencies on what the final map price would be....wasn't expecting that update till the morning.

  • froyo

    your last statement is true. while a small percentage of us walks into best buy to check out a new 55 inch tv...then walking out placeing an order with amazon at 20% discount and avoid paying tax, majority of people wastes $400 for the same tv. nothing wrong with it. I only got my mytouch 4g from a store because it was free after rebate. even that, I wasn't happy to pay the tax.

  • Trae

    i too was waiting for the bionic. on paper it sounds great but in head to head tests vs the thunderbolt the bionic was laggy and slow in similar usage scenarios. my money is on thunderbolt.

  • JamesHall

    The problem with waiting for the bionic or any other phone is the risk of being caught up in Verizon's dumb plan to tier LTE data. I want to get locked into unlimited LTE dataplan and then I can shop around for a different phone later. I have three updates on my account per year, the other people on my account get my handmedowns(since i put food on the table)