Is four months a long time? To phone manufacturers and wireless carriers, it doesn't seem to be. But, to all of those who are buying devices, four months is a very, very long time. A lot can happen in that stretch of time, especially in the mobile market. New devices can be launched, for instance. Or, no matter how great a phone is, general interest in the handset can diminish simply due to a lack of availability. Consumers are forced to play a waiting game that's just not any fun.
On February 19 of this year, HTC officially unveiled their flagship device, the One. It's turned out to be one of HTC's best devices they've ever made, and there's no doubt that plenty of people wanted to get their hands on the device. It's available in two variations: A 32GB model, and a 64GB version. And, perhaps most importantly, both devices are priced quite competitively for what they offer.
Unfortunately, there was still an exclusive deal in place, at least in part, for the One's launch here in the United States. AT&T managed to grab the 64GB model for themselves, and it's still a device you can't get on Sprint or T-Mobile as of this writing. As I said in the past, an exclusive at any point in the release of a phone, even if it's just a variation of the device, won't help HTC.
The worst part, though, is the fact that the One missed a very important carrier in its nationwide launch. Verizon, the Big Red carrier, wasn't on the list right out of the gate, and there were a couple months there that rumors of the One's impending launch for Verizon were squashed without remorse. Those under Verizon's umbrella had no reason to think that HTC's flagship device was headed their way. So it wouldn't be surprising to know that many of them went a different route.
It wasn't until June 3 that Verizon finally made it official. Almost four months. But, essentially, still four months after the announcement back in February. However, while Verizon was all happy to announce that the One would be landing on their network, they couldn't give anyone an exact timeframe. They just slapped a "later this summer" sticker on it and called it a day.
So, here we are at the end of July, and we're still without a Verizon-branded One. Some strong rumors had begun circulation near the middle of the month that suggested the One would launch on Verizon around the first week of August, but according to a recently leaked document, that's not the case anymore. Instead, it looks like the One will be made available to subscribers beginning August 15.
So, that means we'll be looking at a five month separation between when the One went on sale here in the States for AT&T, and when it goes on sale for Verizon. If four months isn't a long time, well, five months certainly is.
In the mean time, there have been other phone launches. There will still be other phones announced before Verizon gets around to launching this device. Just in August alone, there's Motorola's Moto X, not to mention their brand new lineup of DROID devices. Then there's LG, with the G2, that could very well sweep more than a few people off their feet.
HTC just confided that they'll probably take a loss in the third quarter, despite the fact that the One is doing "well." They're saying that they're going to work harder on improving the company overall, as well as releasing interesting mid-tier devices. So, more handsets like the One Mini, apparently. And there's nothing wrong with that. As long as HTC doesn't replace devices six months after their announced, I don't have a problem with them expanding their family of handsets.
But this exclusivity thing has to end. It really does. I don't care what type of exclusivity there is, it just can't happen anymore. You have got to act more like Samsung here, HTC. You need to make sure that your next flagship device, which is rumored to be the HTC One Max, sees the light of day, right at launch, on all the major wireless carriers here in the United States. And, if you really want to make an impact, get it on some of the larger regional carriers, too. At least soon after, anyway.
Even if you can't get your phone on all the carriers at once, just announce that it's coming. Do not tell potential customers that your awesome phone isn't coming to a carrier, or anything like that. Just be a bit more open about it. Because that way someone knows they have something to look forward to, instead of thinking that a phone is never going to be available to them. Unless they switch carriers.
Okay, I'm off the soapbox now. I really just want exclusivities to go away, especially for amazing phones like the One. HTC needs to get it out there. Everyone should have a chance to pick this phone up, in all of its variations. I hope that's the way it goes down with the One Max. Fingers crossed and all that.
So, let me ask you: Are you still waiting for Verizon's One? Now that you've known it's coming since June, have you just suspended all your phone upgrades or purchases until this device lands on store shelves? Or did you go with another device? Or, do you just not care about the One at all anymore? Let me know!