HTC Thunderbolt Sales Prove That Verizon's iPhone is No Threat to Android

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Verizon's iPhone 4 is getting some serious competition from the HTC Thunderbolt, a hot new Android smartphone running on Verizon's 4G LTE network.

In many Verizon Wireless stores, the two phones are selling neck-and-neck, BTIG Research analyst Walter Piecyk reported after calling 150 retail locations in 22 major U.S. cities. Of those stores, 28 percent said the HTC Thunderbolt was outselling the iPhone 4, and 11 percent said the iPhone was outselling the Thunderbolt.

Sure, it's anecdotal evidence--I certainly wouldn't run around proclaiming that the Thunderbolt is outselling the iPhone--but Piecyk's findings at least show that the Verizon iPhone hasn't endangered Android.

Before Verizon started selling the iPhone in January, some analysts and pundits weren't convinced that Android could endure:

"[Adding] Verizon would significantly blunt the competitive threat from the Android platform, whose favored status at Verizon has been critical to its building momentum," Oppenheimer Yair Reiner wrote last June.

"A lot of people who bought Android phones were buying it in lieu of an iPhone because they couldn't get one on the Verizon network," Needham & Co. analyst Charlie Wolf said in January.

"A lot of the people who are buying an iPhone ... they wanted the iPhone but they weren't willing to give up the Verizon network so they're just going to say, 'Now I can get what I really wanted," Charles Golvin of Forrester Research said in January.

Android's OK?

If a single Android phone can keep the pace with and in some cases outsell the iPhone, it's safe to say these prognostications aren't panning out. Android's going to be just fine.

And as my colleague JR Raphael pointed out, that's good for everyone. Smartphones are not a winner-take-all market, and the competition will keep Apple, Google and Android smartphone makers on their toes.

HTC's Thunderbolt has an 8-megapixel camera, 40 GB of storage (8 GB on board, 32 GB in a pre-installed microSD card) and, most importantly, 4G speeds. Those are some strong lures that Apple will have to match with the next iPhone--whenever it launches.

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