Tale of Two Mobile Phones: HTC EVO 4G and iPhone 4

AT&T Fail Rather than write only about Apple’s iPhone 4 launch that set records by selling out 600,000 pre-orders well in advance of launch day, the Geeks have decided to tell a tale of two mobile phone releases: Sprint’s release of the HTC EVO 4G and AT&T’s pre-order release of Apple’s iPhone 4.

First, we’ll look at the actual release of the HTC EVO 4G on Sprint’s network.

The device was released on June 4th to much fanfare by Sprint and activation issues as Sprint’s systems failed under the load. Boasting of shortages across 22k sales locations across the US, Sprint mentioned they were trying to keep up demand with daily deliveries.

In fact on June 7th Sprint released a press release stating:

Friday sales of HTC EVO 4G marked the largest quantity of a single phone sold in one day ever for Sprint – the record was previously held by both Samsung Instinct and Palm Pre. In addition, the total number of HTC EVO 4G devices sold on launch day was three times the number of Samsung Instinct and Palm Pre devices sold over their first three days on the market combined.

Unfortunately that June 7th press release has been removed, but considering the Palm Pre sold between 50k and 100k on launch, Sprint’s statement means they believe they sold between 300k-600k units the first day.

Why would the June 7th press release be removed? As it turns out on June 6th a Sprint employee decided to browse through Sprint’s internal inventory system and discovered Sprint had actually sold 66,483 through Sprint stores and posted the sales figures on the XDA-Developers forum. The post has been removed but Google’s cache still contained part of the post:

“according to sprint we as a [company] have sold 66,483 theres a whole bunch of stores though that dont have any more inventory i dont think any major city sprint does”

66k units sold is not bad (and this does only include Sprint stores) but more of matches the Palm Pre and is far less than the 600k units Sprint eluded to in their press release. Sprint’s only response was to recant their press release on June 9th admitting that they “inadvertently overstated” launch day numbers and stated that sales were in line with the number of Instinct and Pre devices sold over their first three days combined. This of course caused analysts to revise down sales predictions.

One last item of note, the Forensics group at Sprint conducted a quick investigation to determine which employee leaked the numbers, flew from Kansas to Florida and summarily terminated employment rights from the Sprint employee that leaked the details.

Next we’ll look at AT&T and the Apple iPhone 4 pre-order even though it may be a bit premature as the iPhone 4 has not been released yet.