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HTC Employee: “Sorry About the Thunderbolt in General”

htc thunderbolt

The HTC Thunderbolt is largely thought to be one of the most disappointing, frustrating, and disastrous smartphones of all time. It was released as Verizon’s first 4G LTE device, so you can imagine how much attention it grabbed from the tech universe leading up to and after its arrival two years ago. In fact, we hypebeasted the Thunderbolt for months after it was first unveiled at CES in January of 2011, followed by non-stop coverage of it for a lengthy period of time after release. Unfortunately for HTC and those who bought the phone, the phone struggled to become anything but a nuisance as software delays and poor performance tarnished any sort of positive life it once attempted to live. 

But this isn’t news to any of us. The horror stories of life with the Thunderbolt are well-documented throughout this site and others. The Thunderbolt experience was so bad, that some readers have admitted time and time again that they will never buy another HTC device, no matter how good the reviews on them are. Strong words, very strong words. What if HTC was willing to sympathize with you? Would that change anything?

According to an HTC employee who has been on the prowl over at reddit for the last few days answering questions and providing support, his company feels your pain. Reddit user “Erick_HTC” who very well could be Erick Nielsen, because he introduced himself as someone who works at writing up troubleshooting guides of devices and supporting users who report issues, wants to say “sorry about the Thunderbolt in general.” He admits that the Tbolt was a “difficult project” and that he understands why you feel the way you do, but wishes “we didn’t destroy your trust.”

Erick hopes that you will give them another chance because they are doing “much better” now, though, something we can attest to.

Refreshing to see someone from a tech company express their true feelings, even if they aren’t a part of their PR or social media teams. I can imagine that plenty of their company workers feel similarly, yet aren’t in a position to share those thoughts. Reddit to the rescue!

So what do you think, Thunderbolt owners – will you ever give HTC another chance?

Via:  reddit

  • CapnShiner

    To all the people whining and saying HTC should have offered them a free replacement phone: Shut up. HTC doesn’t owe you anything. Should they have released the Thunderbolt with that many problems? No, they should have tested it better. Should HTC have done something for Thunderbolt owners to make up for their failure? Yes, it would have been good customer service to offer a credit or something to Thunderbolt owners. Does that mean HTC owes this to their customers? No, not at all. For those who pre-ordered the Thunderbolt or bought one soon after it launched, that’s part of the risk of being an early adopter. For those who bought one later, after people already started reporting the problems, I say caveat emptor. If you don’t do any product research and end up buying something crappy, it’s your own fault. Either way, HTC doesn’t owe you anything. You’re feeling of entitlement is not justified. HTC did not promise a bug-free device, years of timely updates, or the battery life of a RAZR Maxx for the Thunderbolt. If you bought a Thunderbolt, you got exactly what you paid for: a Thunderbolt. Maybe next time you’ll make smarter purchasing decisions.

  • VZWIndirect

    Droid X, X2, Inc, Inc2….T-Bolt, Bionic….These phones were not “bad”, its just what we have now is so much “better”.

    The first real “nice” car I ever had was a 1984 Mustang GT. In 1984, that car was a freakin BEAST! Now, I look at the ’13 Mustang in my driveway, and there is more technology in the radio then there was in my entire ’84. I have 4 times the HP from the same size motor. And when I see some poor schmuck still driving around in one of those old first-gen Fox Body cars, I can’t believe that I ever thought that one of those cars was a “must have”

    Phones are no different, only it has only taken 4 years to go from the G1, to the S4, or the N4, or the DNA. A couple months ago, I took a G1 in on trade, and yes, I tossed in my SIM, and I carried it for a day. OMG, it was archaic.

    So before you trash HTC for the T-Bolt, maybe you should go spend a day with a Samsung Illusion. Or if you are a N4 owner, give a Vortex a try. Moto-fan….spend a day with a Droid 2. Or better yet, find a G1 Dream and try switching from a N4.

    • Droid 2 isnt bad unless u keep verizon app. Which i rooted and still ninjablur stock just delete the apps.

    • gokusimpson

      You take that back! Droid X was superb! X2 was a different story…

  • scoobymystery 69

    Wait what I have had Samsung ominia there noted worst phone. Also the droid.charge which was only comparable phone to a thunder bolt. The droid charge had minimal updates never to make it past 2.3 ?RIGHT? My co-worker is still going strong with updates past 2.3. Samsung deep throat a caucus and then get back to me for no updates to the droid charge. Also now reading Samsung’s s4 has so much carp or won’t utilize its 16gig more like 9. My choice has been made while in use my HTC droid DNA! Props htc!

    • I had an Omnia. At the time it was a big upgrade over my Moto Q. Woah… Am I dating myself there? Ha ha!

  • Zer0LUXX

    Hmm. Am I the only one that liked the TB? It was my first smartphone. I had no issues with it at all. Even my kickstand was in perfect condition when I sold it. I upgraded to the Rezound after a year. I loved that phone as well until ICS cut the battery life in half. I now own the Galaxy Nexus and will continue to own it until Verizon releases something better.

    • lexkel

      They did. The Note 2, iPhone 4s, and iPhone 5 are all better.

  • Nazzi_Muhammad

    Verizon + Thunderpud = worse than a frequent and copious discharge of abnormally liquid faeces

  • picked up a thunderbolt the first week. Was very disappointed in the flaws, but I stuck with it until I got my one last week. It’s an excellent device. HTC should give thunderbolt owners something, but they have definitely gone above and beyond to improve.

  • Tucker Nebel

    I got this phone the week it came out and thoroughly loved it. I didn’t run into any problems.

  • I’m a current Thunderbolt owner, though my Verizon Galaxy S4 is on its way.
    To HTC I ask – can you give me the past two years of my life back (at least, my mobile life)?

    No? Then I’m sticking with the pledge I made over a year ago about never getting an HTC phone again.

  • Kreg Steppe

    I would be hard pressed to commit to another HTC phone. In general I like the build quality of the devices, but the “ignore them and they may go away” support regarding software updates…then the string them along with an Ice Cream sandwich carrot garbage…no. Plus, I hate the power button on top (no matter what company). Grrrr.

  • Steve Douglas

    So I was one of the people who got the Tunderbolt on day 1. Yes it was a pain in ass, laden with all sorts of issues. I just wish that HTC would have given the developers the source code for the radio so we could have gotten a ROM with decent radios. My GF had the INC2 and 2 of those had bad charging ports. So my experience hasn’t left me jaded, but not very trusting of a company that’s had such failures and done very little to make things right;. I had the change to get a DNA, but it’s lack of SD card steered me to the Note 2 and love that phone and the support the Samsung has promised to include at least 1 major release to their flagships. Not a samsung fanboy, but just a fanboy of well designed phones and support. I’m hopeful that Moto can pull it together and get a decent camera in their next lineup!!

  • irtechneo

    I liked my thunderbolt while I had it. Stock was horrendous but a BAMF or Skyraider Zeus ROM and new kernel made it decent enough for me to like it for 18 months. I never did try any ICS roms due to all of the problems I heard about them. With that being said I am now rocking the Note 2 and I cannot believe the difference! I now feel like I had blinders on the whole time. Thanks for the apology HTC but it will take something special to bring me back and the One just doesnt cut it compared to my Note 2. Looking back I cannot believe I kept that paperweight so long.

  • Jared Persinger

    I am the current owner of the htc one and iI have to say it is amazing (unlike the mess the thunderbolt was). I personally think that it is at least worth looking into

  • Sporttster

    Co-worker of mine bought the T-Bolt. I’ve never seen a guy dump a phone faster.

  • Nope. Never again. Sorry HTC. The worst.

  • codidley

    Had the Thunderbolt and feel the same way many other do. The bad experience added to being stuck with the phone for 2 years has left a pretty bad impression on HTC for me. I understand the new devices are top notch, but the past will not soon be forgotten.

  • nerdbird

    “It was released as Verizon’s first 4G LTE device”

    It was VZW’s first LTE phone. They had other devices prior to the TB.

  • Greg

    My wife and I still have ours and have just learned to deal with its issues. Cannot wait to get rid of it and just trying to figure out whether to get rid of my unlimited data plan, go to a set data plan, or just be rid of Verizon. I personally don’t think I will buy another HTC phone again, no matter how good a new phone by them seems to be. I have no faith that they will get a phone right to begin with, never mind be able to update the phone on a timely matter.

    • Never say never. When I got my tbolt I could’ve bought a Charge. Just holding the Charge in my hands convinced me to get the tbolt. And now I own a Galaxy Nexus. The world works in mysterious ways. 😉

  • ddh819

    so im looking at getting a used 4g vzw phone, what should i get between the Lucid, Rezound, spectrum, dinc 4g, galaxy nexus or razr?

  • Ed Harrisburg

    I spent a lot of time troubleshooting the phone and going back and fourth to the Verizon store, after the 5th swap out Verizon finally changed me over to a Droid Charge which was stable. While troubleshooting the phone I even reached out to HTC support, which referred me to Verizon support. Because of the loss of investment in the phone and HTC lack of interest in trying to fix the problems, the only way I would try one again is if they gave me one but I would not take money out of my own pocket to purchase an HTC again.

  • Cat88L3

    I’m on Verizon & HTC has left a pretty bad taste in my mouth. I’m still holding on to a Inc 2 & I don’t think I can do HTC again. Slow with updates or their phones are pretty much forgotten about. My first Droid Inc croaked bc of a Gingerbread update and now my charging port for my Inc 2 is defective. I read that this is a huge problem with this phone.

    I’ll be waiting for the Galaxy S4 32gb-on Tmobile or Sprint. I’m sick of Verizon’s policies as well.

  • Vince

    I wasn’t a “first day” adopter but I was an early one out of necessity. I was trying to hold on to my OG Motorola Droid a little longer to see what was going to come out when my contract was up but I had the screen on it die (thanks to a manufacturing flaw that Motorola knew about but wouldn’t recall). I got an “early upgrade” and the only thing that made any since was to get the newest phone, which was the T-bolt. I saw reviews saying it was a great phone except the battery life, but if you turn off the 4G (which wasn’t in my area yet) it was fine. I gave it a shot and it was okay, until I got the first OTA and it was downhill from there. I had every issue that people had with it and even got it replaced a couple of times with no better results. I even started a Facebook page calling for Verizon to recall it (obviously to no avail).

    When it worked (the few times the OTA did fix things) I really did like it. Sense didn’t bother me since I liked playing with different Home replacements. Once I got the extended battery when Verizon started selling them dirt cheap to “make up” for the poor stock battery, it wasn’t too bad. That is the ONLY phone with a good kickstand. Even though it “flaked” it was sturdy and worked in either direction. I really miss that kickstand. It was sturdy and the “soft touch” feel on the back was pretty good too. I carried it up until I dropped it in a grocery store and cracked the screen. I didn’t have an upgrade and Verizon had just changed the unlimited plans so I wasn’t going to be able to upgrade and kieep my unlimited plan anyway, so I found a good deal on a GNex. It was going to cost as much to replace the screen as I paid for the GNex. The GNex is night and day a better phone operationally thanks to it being bare bones. I would prefer to get a Nexus device from here on out but if HTC were to make it or if HTC were to give a GOOD credit ($150-$200) towards the purchase of a One (if it ever comes to Verizon) I would consider it if they continue to get good reviews. I just want a good, solid, powerful phone.

    Come on HTC, do more than “apologize”, put your money where your mouth is!

  • DanSan

    got a thunderbolt the day it came out, worst decision ever. the phone itself, combined with sense, i will never buy another HTC phone ever.

  • Dan

    I had the Thunderbolt and I will never buy an HTC phone AGAIN. With the delays in updates and the battery the Thunderbolt just underperformed. I could’ve purchased another HTC phone but decided to go with the Galaxy 3. HTC unless you do the right thing and give Tbolt owners a free HTC One to show how your company changed I will stay away from your phones!

  • I agree with what some others said on here. Being sorry is nice, but it doesn’t make up for what was an unusable phone. Verizon’s support was not much better. They both owe anyone that bought a T-Bolt a full refund in my book.

  • John Mc

    Not a chance. If they refunded my money or gave me their new phone, maybe. Even their customer support was ridiculously bad. Ignored my questions every time. The TBolt was such a disappointment. This “apology” was not emailed to me, was not official, and had no oomph to it. HTC might as well close up shop to me, as I’ll never buy a product of theirs again.

  • bogy25

    I still use myTBolt everyday ….it was bad but come on…it was the first 4g phone.

  • Honestly the Thunderbolt will always hold a special place to me (as it was my frist true smartphone and it got me addicted to 4G LTE speeds!) with that being said there were some obvious bugs but personally I didn’t suffer from about half of them (reboots seemed to be minimal and only really happened when the phone was idle, the touch screen always seemed to be spot on for me, etc). The Thunderbolt might not have had the best specs or the best battery life but it could still load up webpages and videos faster than any iDevice at its time! Oh and that kickstand was absolutely golden! Heck I still know 2 people personally who have Thunderbolts and they are still kicking (albeit they can’t really play the newer games and they might be a little bit slower than my Droid Razr) because the device was built solid and sturdy!!

  • Josh_C

    No, I will never get another HTC phone. Thunderbolt was the worst phone I ever had, I would rather go back to a pager.

  • Superdroid

    HTC, the Edsel of the phone industry.

  • Jonathan Ly

    I actually enjoyed the Thunderbolt. It was my first Smartphone experience and in all honesty, I didn’t mind some of the set backs.

    I never had nearly as many negative experiences as anyone here, but again, I’ll consider myself part of the minority that takes enjoyment out of tinkering with the device, so I rooted and cracked the bootloader open and had my fun.

    My only problem was the battery life. Never had dropped calls, never accidentally texted someone else. Just wish it would make it through a day of use.

    Overall, HTC’s big guns outside of Verizon have been stellar. The One, One X/EVO 4G LTE, J Butterfly/Butterfly, EVO.

    And I don’t see how anyone thought this device getting ICS was going to workout. <1GB of RAM, Single Core processor, none of its contemporaries have ICS (Droid Charge, LG Revolution) so I don't see how anyone thought it could workout. Only phone that made it was the Nexus S and the official builds of ICS and JB were laggy.

    Just another issue in Android, oh well.

  • Have they really learned from the Thunderbolt era? The One has a 2300 mAh battery that doesn’t seem to be that much bigger than the TB. Deja vu?

  • HTC Sucks!

    I am a HTC THUNDERTURD owner and this nails it right on the dot! I will never ever buy another HTC product for quite some time because of this worthless phone. Once they did the update to ICS 4 months ago, it has been a piece of crap and freezes constantly like an old computer. My RAM is about 95% filled up and theres nothing more to kill. I am going to Samsung as they are known to provide excellent phones. Even the new HTC One doesnt impress me. Just because it has a metal frame doesnt do anything for the software on the phone. Trying to act like an iPhone in sheeps clothing isnt going to work. What the hell is this “Blinkfeed”? Looks too Window 8 to me. They cant offer me enough to get another one….even if it was FREE!

  • This phone never saw european light. I got myself the Desire around that time (I think, Im not much into that US Carrier thing and when you guys get stuff) which was the best phone i ever had. Its still up n running. Why am I commenting on this then? Well, I bought loads of crappy Samsung products (Projectors, DVD Player, MP4 Player) which all broke so often I got my money back, yeah all of them.

    Why do I tell you this? I still recommend people to buy Samsung products when they are reviewed as being good or even better. Meaning: You can’t judge on a whole company by one crappy phone. I had the One X after, I know loads of ppl who own the One S, the Desire HD (I think that’s the Thunderbolt we got?), Legend, etc. no complains ever!

    And now they brought us the One…Im stuck with my Nexus4 and love it. But I would love to go back to HTC any time (well, whenever they produce a nexus ofc 😉 ), they make brilliant phones…besides that one disaster they gave US-Customers apparently =/

  • ww

    Will never buy HTC again unless reparations are made.

  • Joey Faulk

    I had the TBolt. I liked it with Cyanogen mod. Dropped it, cracked the screen, and got a Bionic off craigslist. I would go back to an HTC device, not based on the TBolt, but based off the company’s innovation with the HTC One. It looks like a great phone! Maybe Verizon will show some ONE love!

  • KPunk

    my girlfriend still has this phone, she has said many times she will never buy a HTC phone again and she isn’t a very tech savvy person. and i don’t blame her. for her to say that i am not surprised many others feel the same way. fortunately she has been eligible for an upgrade for the past couple months, but has been waiting patently for the galaxy s4.

  • willie

    let htc give me a deal for buying the t-bolt and I may get another phone from them.

  • @the_hein_line

    Never EVER would go back to them. Would not even use a free HTC one. Nothing they could do to change my mind. HTC is dead to me.

    • Tim242

      Same here. I used to be an HTC only user. No more!

  • JD

    I didn’t realize so many people had problems with their T-bolts. Mine worked flawlessly from day 1. Besides mediocre-at-best battery life, I loved it while I had it. Sold it to a friend when I got the Rezound, and she had no problems either. I must have had one of the few non-lemons lol.

  • Kyle Miller

    Just don’t let the Droid DNA end up the same way! Its a very good, quality phone.

  • Shane Redman

    I wish Facebook would apologize to anyone with a Status or First….how is it called “First” and it’s not their first phone???

  • Nicolas Pipitone

    I got the Thunderbolt release day and I still have it. Had two of them over the course of this time as I cracked the screen. (Not the phones fault at all) I’ve always loved the build quality and the weighted feel. As for software problems…never had them. Neither did my mother who also had a Thunderbolt. She actually enjoyed it enough over “Samsungs crappy interface” (<-Her words) that she got the DNA as soon as it came out.

    I didn't like Sense launcher and always loaded up a custom launcher and only used the parts of Sense that I really liked. Some of the stock Google gingerbread stuff was kinda ugly and I would have used a custom launcher on a Nexus if I'd had one.

    I also give kudos to HTC for delivering on their promised update. I'm sure that it would have been easier for them to just drop it like so many other companies do when they make a crappy product. (They all have at some point.) But they pushed through and released a great update. Many people don't seem to understand the complexities of a project like this. If anything I point a finger at Verizon for consistently blocking phones, and ongoing software updates.

    ICS easily tripled the battery life of my phone and everything is just as smooth as it always was if not a bit snappier. I can do many tasks faster than my fiance on her GS3. Proof that you can bog down any device with crap. Many of the people that I've heard bitch about the update being sluggish didn't even take the time to do a factory reset. It's like upgrading any OS, it's just a bad idea. I walked a co-worker through doing a reset and all his problems went away. Take the time to understand your tech or at least find someone who does to help you.

    HTC has always had a great build quality. Much better than some others. And even though most of us don't like Sense its been better than many of the other overlays. I do wish they'd give the option to just turn it off but for the most part its easy enough to avoid.

    Let's be honest, every manufacturer has dropped a load of crap on us at one time or another. Remember the Samsung Charge? I literally watch someone chuck his into a wall cause it dropped one call too many. But as it was already pointed out. The Thunderbolt was a first of many things, pushed the envelope and was hypebeasted like crazy. I'm not going to hold that against HTC even had I had problems with the phone.

    Finally, I feel that HTC is truly sympathetic and apologetic about the whole project and their pipeline in general. The HTC one is a great device. They have still to nail down their marketing but I definitely see steps toward a new HTC and I think the future holds good things for them and for us as consumers.

    My next device will probably not be an HTC device because i'm at the mercy of Verizon's selection and a grandfathered unlimited data plan but I am in no way turned off by HTC and will definitely have another of there devices in my future.

    Sorry for the long post but hey someone has to defend against all the negativity flying around.

  • FJ40



    I never got a straight answer from HTC or VZ and now that I
    am do for an upgrade I have to pay full price for a phone if I want to keep
    unlimited. I will be moving to ATT even
    though the service is crap in my area.

    • evltwn

      Try the new payment plan vzw has. You can keep your unlimited data.

  • i had a thunderbolt the day it came out. it wasnt that bad once you slapped cyanogen mod on but im over that phone every company as a slump. i would like to rejoin htc

  • David Button

    While it was leaps and bounds better than the Blackberry I had previously I don’t see myself going back to HTC unless they sort out the update nonsense. I must say I was surprised by the Jellybean update about 3 weeks before I upgraded but it wasn’t enough to convince me to buy a DNA, picked up a Razr Maxx HD instead.

  • I loved my thunderbolt, just the battery life sucked, maybe because it was my first smartphone.. .

  • edwoordd

    I had the Tbolt since launch to get the unlimited 4glte, it was good & got better when it was rooted & when it finally took a dump I moved to the gnex. Build quality and the speaker was amazing also if you had extended batteries it was good! I had 3 extended batteries

  • NemaCystX

    Its not HTC’s fault, its Verizon’s, they made this phone into a Frankenstein phone when they added the LTE radios at the last minute and gave it the name “ThunderBolt”

    I personally have had much better luck with HTC devices than I have with my Samsung ones. HTC for me, and off to AT&T I go to get the HTC One, so long Verizon

    Note: Yes I know about the RUMOR of it coming to Verizon but I have had my fair share of drama from them so I’ve decided to leave and actually be able to get service again.

    • It htc fault because motorola and samsung update with no issue of verizon interfering

  • Dan

    I hate to be redundant, but never again HTC. There is nothing they can do, to get me back as a customer. The TBolt was the biggest POS I’ve ever owned. Random reboots, constant lag, a stale UI, lack of updates, spotty radios, downright horrendous battery life etc etc…I could go on and on. Since then I’ve moved to the Note 2 and am absolutely stunned at the experience. I’m running Jelly Beans ROM, can still use the S-pen and get about 30 hours of use on LTE. Something that would have taken the TBolt 5 charges to attain if it could stay on that long. NEVER AGAIN, I say.

  • dont fire me

    I had a Thunderbolt, wasn’t the best phone but it worked for me and it took a hell of a beating and is still going. I would totally buy another HTC phone in the future if i could afford a good “One”. To everyone who says that one experience ruined the company for you forever that’s stupid.

    I burnt the roof of my mouth on a piece of pizza. I will never eat pizza again.