HTC Thunderbolt Clobbering Apple’s iPhone 4?

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Wouldn’t it be nice for HTC, but no, it looks like HTC’s $250 Thunderbolt probably isn’t clobbering Verizon’s iPhone. In fact it’s hard to say exactly what it’s doing, unless you’re an easy sell on tiny sample pools.

The Thunderbolt hit stores a couple weeks ago, supports Verizon’s 4G LTE network, and seems to be an all-around hit with critics. USA Today calls it “wicked fast,” InfoSync described it as “one of the best smartphones on the market,” and LaptopMag declared it “the fastest 4G phone on any network.”

To hear BTIG analyst Water Piecyk tell it, it’s also selling neck and neck with–and in some instances pulling ahead of–Verizon’s iPhone.

BTIG polled 150 Verizon Wireless retailers in more than 22 US cities and says the data it gathered trends in HTC’s favor. 61 percent of stores interviewed said the Thunderbolt was keeping pace with the iPhone, while 28 percent report it’s actually outselling it.

Not too shabby–well, until you poke around the data. Verizon has “more than 2,000″ retail locations in the United States. Of those, BTIG polled just 150, or about 7 percent. And of that 7 percent, only 28 percent said the Thunderbolt was selling better than the iPhone, while another 11 percent said they actually sold more iPhones.

Which means: HTC’s Thunderbolt appears to be doing well, but BTIG’s results don’t tell us much about the strength of its sales against the iPhone, one way or another.

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