Verizon iPhone vs. HTC ThunderBolt: And the Winner Is

In a knock-down, drag-out grudge match of epic proportions, in one corner we have the Verizon iPhone 4, and in the other, the new HTC ThunderBolt. And the winner is

Verizon Wireless.

Two new reports say sales of the devices have been terrific, giving the carrier an incredible lift so far in 2011. Pitting the two head to head, both smartphones come out winners which is in the lead depends on how you read the reports.

Researcher Kantar Worldpanel ComTech just named the iPhone 4 the top-seller at Verizon Wireless, nabbing nearly one-third (30 percent) of all the carriers handset sales in the past month. That boosted Apples U.S. smartphone market share from 21 percent on June 13, 2010, to 27 percent as of March 20, 2011. Thats a nice increase, but one that would disappoint Android.

Thats because Kantar shows Androids U.S. market share up a whopping 35 percent since last summer, to almost 55 percent, blowing out the competition. And while its sales may have lagged behind the Verizon iPhone, the HTC ThunderBolt is a big reason for Androids boost. The first 4G smartphone from Verizon has received rave reviews and broken some records.

One of those records was set by the Bolts manufacturer, HTC. The Taiwanese company says its net income tripled and sales doubled in the first quarter as the Android platform continued its meteoric rise. Earlier this year, the company said it expected to ship nearly 9 million smartphones in Q1, which would nearly equal what it sold during Q4 2010 (the holiday season) quite a feat. HTC didnt release its official shipment numbers for Q1 in its announcement today, but a Bloomberg report says the companys net income could rise to $16.4 billion in Q2. That would be up from a staggering $14.8 billion in Q1, which was three times the companys income from just one year earlier.

A separate report released last week by analyst BTIG showed the ThunderBolt to be outdueling the iPhone, saying sales of the Bolt were equal to that of iPhone sales at a majority of Verizon Wireless stores surveyed and better than iPhone sales in more than one-quarter of stores but that didnt take online sales into account.

So we actually have a lot of winners here. But its clear that the big loser in all of this continues to be Research In Motion, which was the smartphone market leader last June, according to Kantar, and has fallen all the way down to third place a distant third at that, with its BlackBerrys earning just a 10 percent share.


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