HTC ThunderBolt

It's officially official, folks. The long-awaited HTC ThunderBolt will be available on Verizon on March 17 -- this Thursday. Whatever kinks Verizon's been working on since the phone's announcement at CES in January presumably have been worked out, and you'll soon have that 4.3-inch slab of LTE 4G goodness in your fat little hands. It'll cost you $249 with a two-year contract. An unlimited LTE plan will run $29.99 a month.

There's no sign of the new Skype, unfortunately. But along with that large screen you'll have Android 2.2, the new version of the HTC Sense user interface, an 8MP rear camera and 1.3MP front-facing shooter, all powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 processor.

Just a couple more days, folks, and it'll be here. While you wait, be sure to check out our first look at the ThunderBolt at CES, and swing by the ThunderBolt forums. You'll be glad you did. Full presser's after the break.

The ThunderBolt™ by HTC, the First 4G LTE Smartphone for Verizon Wireless Arrives March 17
ThunderBolt™ by HTC Available Beginning March 17

BASKING RIDGE, N.J., March 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Verizon Wireless and HTC today announced that the ThunderBolt™ by HTC, exclusively from Verizon Wireless, is available on March 17 in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online at www.verizonwireless.com for $249.99 with a new two-year customer agreement.

Powered by Android™ 2.2, the ThunderBolt by HTC is the first smartphone to take advantage of Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE network. The ThunderBolt by HTC features the latest version of the HTC Sense™ experience, which offers enhancements including new personalization options, a consolidated e-mail inbox, and unique camera effects and filters. The ThunderBolt by HTC is equipped with support for Google Mobile Services, including Gmail™, YouTube™ and Android Market™ with thousands of free apps. Additionally, the ThunderBolt by HTC will feature 4G LTE optimized apps such as EA's Rock Band, Gameloft's Let's Golf, Tunewiki and Bitbop.

Additional features:

  • 4G LTE – customers can expect download speeds of 5 to 12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2 to 5 Mbps in 4G Mobile Broadband coverage area
  • 4.3" WVGA display
  • 8- megapixel rear facing camera and HD (720p) video recording
  • 1.3- megapixel front facing camera with video chatting capabilities
  • Newest generation of the 1GHz Snapdragon processor
  • Mobile Hotspot capability – share 4G connection with up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices
  • 8 GB of onboard memory and a pre-installed 32 GB microSD card (Actual formatted capacity will be less)
  • Built-in kickstand for easy media viewing

With the ThunderBolt by HTC, customers will need to subscribe to a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk plan and a 4G LTE data package. Nationwide Talk plans begin at $39.99 monthly access and an unlimited 4G LTE data plan is $29.99 monthly access.

Mobile Hotspot allows users to connect up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices to the nation's fastest wireless network via an application available on the ThunderBolt by HTC. Mobile Hotspot will be included through May 15 for no additional charge. After May 15, customers may choose to activate Mobile Hotspot for $20 for 2 GB of data per month. Customers can track their data usage by downloading the My Verizon app available in Android Market or by logging on to their My Verizon accounts online at www.verizonwireless.com/myverizon.

For additional information on Verizon Wireless 4G LTE visit www.verizonwireless.com/4glte. For more information about the ThunderBolt by HTC please visit www.verizonwireless.com/thunderbolt. For additional information on Verizon Wireless products and services, visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store, call 1-800-2 JOIN IN or go to www.verizonwireless.com. 

 

Reader comments

HTC ThunderBolt officially launching March 17 on Verizon for $249

91 Comments

30 dollar unlimted lte hellz yeahz even if it was 300 bucks I would still get it to have the unlimted lte for 30 bucks plus my 20% discount on that I'm looking at 75 bucks as I pay now... I know this phone will be rooted soon so no worries about the wifi tether ill get that for free

That's what I'm saying let all these guys bash the thunderbolt and say the bionic is better but I bet when they get their bionic is gona be about 250-300 beause of the lte and dual core but they probably won't get the 30 unlimited lte

Honestly I'm glad the damn thing is finally being released because I'm tired of reading about it. Its not much different from my EVO ... updated Sense and a slightly newer processor but still rated at 1ghz...nothing to get overly excited about.

Double the speed of the Evo. 1100 Quadrant vs 2000. Better network. Better screen. More RAM. Simultaneous voice/data over 3G. I could so keep going....wait! Evo is plastic, Thunderbolt is aluminum!

249$ price point must be a sign of the times to come. Guess the new EVO just got it's price (249.99) also.

Keep in mind that it comes with 40GB of total memory. The EVO was $199 with 9GB of included memory at the time of release. +$62 for a (quality) Class 6 16GB at the time. So The EVO was more expensive with less storage.

What is the big deal with this phone? It is just a re-skinned EVO 4G. Compared with what other companies are doing this phone SUCKS!!!

Although for the vast majority of the public, they can't tell the difference, they are NOT the same....

It's like saying a V6 Mustang is the same as one with a V8. They may look the similar and both can get you from point A to B, but are different. The V8 model will get you there faster and I've found they ride better too... It makes the experience completely more enjoyable when your in a Mustang GT.

It'll be the same when you compare the EVO 4G to the Thunderbolt too. At 1st look, people will think it's the same, but once you start using them, I'll bet you'll find the Thunderbolt to be more refined and faster. It'll also be a more capable handset with the better screen, faster processor and more memory. It's just something you'll have to experience to see the difference!

That is what one would expect after 9 months. I don't get all this debate on why the Thunderbolt is better than the Evo. Obviously it is going to be better than the Evo otherwise we would have some idiots at Verizon.

Jaycop: Do you like repeating what other idiots say, or are you just jealous? This phone pwns the Evo. Get educated.

Although I agree with you about the Thunderbolt > Evo...I have to say that anyone who uses the word "pwns" is seriously gay.

That's all.

Yeah also an actual homo here, and don't appreciate hateful, mindless banter like that. I don't know why people say crap like that.

The fact of the matter is though
This phone > EVO/DesireHD/Inspire4G/etc.. etc..

Because thought they may be similar in size, this phone pulls all the bulletpoints on the list from each of those other devices and makes them into one amazing device, this will be the last king of the single-cores. It has 4G but unlike the EVO, it uses far superior LTE, unlike the EVO it has an aluminum unibody chassis, making it rigid and stylized more like an HTC device than the EVO, which is a good thing IMO. This also means it shares another unique attribute with the Inspire/Desire phones, but unlike those phones, the unibody design, doesn't keep it from having a more standard, familiar battery door. So it will be user replaceable and you'll be able to have those ridiculously thick extended batteries, which I imagine will become popular since HTC chooses to skimp on battery power for some reason. Last but not least, this phone is on Verizon, with unlimited 4G data right now, for the same price as the current 3G data plans. For some people, there is no option other than their carrier, and for a lot of Verizon subscriber's it is that way. The bonus of simultaneous voice/data is a bonus on top of everything else when you consider its a CDMA device in the US.

So no matter how many times anybody says, its just a reskinned EVO or DesireHD you're incorrect no matter how you look at it.

Best Buy is still stating $299.99 coming soon. You think that someone there would have updated their site. Anyway I have a pre-order with Best Buy, will they have them this Thursday as well or would it be better to head to the local VZW Store which is in the same strip mall as Best Buy!! LOL

STUPID QUESTION: I have my Galaxy tab on a month-to-month. If I transfer my upgrade from that line, will my Tab be under contract now?

Not a stupid question at all. When I bought my Tab, the sales droids at the VzW Corp store told me that I had and upgrade available on my account, that I could apply to any line. But if you use it, you will have to sign a two year contract on your Tab line. But with free tethering and 3G/4G data for the same price I'm paying now? I'm gonna take the data plan off my Tab and just run it off the TBolt.

So basically, I can call VZW right now, take off the data and txt plan(i used text on it sometimes) and just use the tab WiFi AND STILL have that upgrade line available?

I'm confused. Are you saying your Tab goes on to a two year contract? I'm swinging by the VZW Store today and talk to someone there to get this straightened out.

Samsung fascinate for sale: REAL CHEAP!

Whats the full price with no 2 year agreement? I seriously need to know that

Finally , congrats to the people who are getting the ThunderBolt
Its a great phone , although its a bit behind in tech. Compared to Droid Bionic , but this is the ThunderBlot time to shine now (& live up to it name)
To all the people complainning that its an Evo on verizon , actually its more like an Inspire 4G than an Evo !
Consider it anthor variant of the Evo , just like the Galaxy S line up

QUESTION?
From my reading regarding the mobile hotspot "Mobile Hotspot will be included through May 15 for no additional charge. After May 15, customers may choose to activate Mobile Hotspot for $20 for 2 GB of data per month."

-Does this mean that if you activate by May 15th, then you get grandfathered in for a free mobile hotspot? Or does this mean it's free only until May 15th. The wording is not specific or clear?

-Finally a new question with rooted android phones, is it possible to root the phone in a way to get free mobile hotspot? If there is, could you link to a site to read about how to do it?

Thanks.

Not if people are correct from what I've heard about some sort of tracking in the radio/kernel or something to make sure we aren't rooting and tethering data freely. Just a rumor I've heard about but I could see this being true, of course with a flash to CyanogenMod, this wouldn't be a problem, or a deodexed, custom rom/kernel combo.

Press release makes it seem like after May 15th you will be charged, its more a preview to make you want it more, but yea once rooted u can download any of a number hotspot apps and use it free

Is the Thunderbolt significantly smaller than the EVO, or does the hand model in the picture have freakishly large hands?

In either case, the 1400mah battery is a no-go for me.

HTC cheaps out on the battery EVERY TIME! I don't understand why because they make a nice phone with great hardware, but if you can't get a full day's use from the phone..what good is it. I hope I am wrong & the Thunderbolt gets adequate battery life, but I just haven't seen the battery life from any HTC device that would make me want to leave Motorola for them.

People fail to understand that it means nothing for a phone to have dual-core IF THE PHONE IS STILL LAGGY! Have you seen the Atrix? MotoBlur kills it for me and every other Motorola phone out there until they stop insisting on forcing it down my throat.

@angel35

First of all:

LTE on verison is nothing special, T-Mobile has been test to have the best data speeds for smartphone

AT&T: average download speed 1.45Mbps, average upload speed 0.97Mbps
Sprint: average download speed 1.50Mbps, average upload speed 0.56Mbps
T-Mobile: average download speed 2.28 Mbps, average upload speed 0.95 Mbps
Verizon Wireless: average download speed 1.01 Mbps, average upload speed 0.67 Mbps.

In the smartphone tests, T-Mobile came out on top with the fastest downlink data-speeds available.

Via:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/221931/4g_wireless_speed_tests_which_is_r...

Additionally if you compare the specs of some of the other major smartphones that are coming out in Q1 of 2011 or are out already (Motorola Atrix, Samsung Galaxy S II) the Thunderbolt is nothing to Get all worked up about

http://www.gsmarena.com/compare.php3?idPhone1=3621&idPhone2=3703

You fail to mention that Verizon's LTE network speeds were not included in the SMARTPHONE speed test because there are no phones that take advantage of it at the moment. However, Verizon's LTE speeds were included in the PC speed tests because data cards are available. If you look at the tests you'll see that Verizon averages 6.4Mbps with their LTE network.

You need to re read the article my friend. At the time of testing there was no Verizon 4G phone. The 4G data stick from Verizon clocked around 6.5Mpbs! Much faster then all the rest.

With HTC devices being somewhat known for poor battery life if I were getting th Thunderbolt I would be buying an extra battery today for it. With a 4.3 inch screen and lte radio I think you're going to need it.

@brobertsleo

I agree with you, and as LTE becomes available to more of the population it will be a superior service, but when the hardware cant stand with the with its direct competition locking into a contract or dropping the money for an of contract device doesn't seem right. There are many devices that will come out in the near future that will take advantage of LTE I am going to wait.

You'll be paying for that wait. You'll get the Droid Bionic that doesn't have quite as good hardware as the Atrix, and the Atrix is a laggy, buggy, highly overrated phone. So, wait for your bugged out Bionic with motoblur (lol) just to watch us T-Bolt users have a much smoother running phone with unlimited LTE for the price your going to be paying for 3gb's. So, enjoy your wait and higher data prices.

Question, I purchased a Droid 2 Global for free from Amazon.
I have decided to return my device (had it only a week which I can also still get out of my contract if need be) as I cannot get a signal at all, I had a friend with a Incredible who could get a signal with her handset in my apt.
I have had nothing with issues with Moto on other handsets I should've known better, as right now I am without a phone and have been for a month.
If my signal was crappy with the Droid 2 Global, if I get a T-Bolt, does anyone know if a will even see 4G (I am in a 4G area BTW) or is it just a Droid 2 thing that is occurring, otherwise I might get a Galaxy S.

Thanks, (I really want a T-Bolt).

I am interested in this device only for the opportunity to be locked into unlimited 4g. Also, for you guys considering buying at full retail, $249 + $350 etf is cheaper than the rumored $749 full retail of this device. Just saying...

At this point, dual core is meaningless because the OS & apps aren't really optimized to get the most out of it anyway. I have a DX too & will be keeping it, but most people are jumping at this phone because it is LTE.

Again, look at the Atrix. It will take some time before the dual-core's actually get utilized. Read some reviews of the Atrix, less than impressive to say the least.

Okay so according to the Verizon rep at the store and on the phone, you will need to have a 3g data plan, so a little quirked about that. But get this if you live in a 4g/lte zip code you will be required to have both, very big fail. Oh yea btw your discount will not work on the 4g/lte service fee. I was going to switch to VZW for this phone but to get 2 of these and 1 other smart phone on a plan will be over 230 with a 25% discount to get what I have for 164 on Sprint with a 31% discount. Damn looks like somebody might get dumped off my plan, LOL.

Not according to the promo material the store guy showed me at the store on a website, have to pay twice for data services.

I'm not trying to hate or anything but u also have to take into account that verizons 4g network isn't that crowded yet once more people get more lte capable devices the speeds might drop a little bit..dont get me wrong though I prefer lte over wimax anyday ..have fun with the phone to the people that get it

True, but at the same time, Verizon is expanding their LTE network and will be adding more towers. In time, we will probably see a small drop in speeds, followed by a rise.

Droid X and all accessories going on eBay right now. Don't see the unlimited LTE package hanging around until the bionic so, this will be great. Plus have a Xoom so wont be missing anything. PlusI have another line so one more upgrade.

anyone know what to expect to pay for a 1 year contract for the thunderbolt?

and if you get this, will you really be grandfathered into 4g? or do you think there will be something in the contract that says you cant be?

i only have 11 months on my contract and i was going to wait it out and port my number to google voice and just have it forwarded to my work smartphone

but im up for a upgrade right now, and if i can sign a 1 year and get this phone id do that, and the contract would still end about the same time.

thanks to anyone that responds.

We just got a demo unit here at the best buy I work at. Its pretty slick. Buts its honestly nothing we haven't seen. The hardware is nice of course, but I've had the new sense on my rooted G2 for about 3 months now. Don't get me wrong, its a beautiful device but I wouldn't see myself switching carriers for this device. I'm fixing to pick up an inspire for att, and ill be missing the HDMI out and the larger ram.

Really, its been nearly a year and everyone is freaking out over a suped up evo, what is everyone even doing with that processing power except whipping it out and measuring it. There are no apps that even utilize its power. Give me a 2 ghz dual core where I can boot backtrack and brute force your bluetooth, then I'll get excited.

A lot of us have been waiting to upgrade from POS phones, like the Storm (I hate even mentioning that POS. Oh yeah, I still have it), and can't afford to wait any longer. I would love to have this computer, I mean, phone, that you speak of, but I'm not waiting another year (at least) for it to come out. If I had a reasonable phone, I would certainly think about waiting, but as a Storm (what a fitting name. That phone truly is a terrible mess of a storm) owner, I simply cannot wait any longer, and the unlimited 4g is a HUGE draw for me.

VZ just approved my early upgrade, wouldn't pre order over the phone today. She (customer service rep) did mention that there will be newer phones around my actual upgrade date (August) and did I really want to upgrade early to the Thunderbold. She specifically mentioned the Bionic. I laughed and said I would not buy Motorola.

I just called, explained that my last upgrade was a crappy Storm 2 in Dec. 09, and that I wanted a new phone. Due to the fact I pay my bill and am a long standing customer, she said she would do it. So there is a note on my account, so I will hit the store Thursday a.m. Although, she could not guarantee store would honor, but I could call on the 17th and order one from them. My local corporate store has always been good, so hoping all goes well.

Im up for an upgrade. Tbolt sounding nice. Bionic sounds good too but the specs seem less than the tbolt. My friend has a 4g lte card for his labtop and its LIGHTNING fast! Get it? Lol. I too would like to lock myself into 4g for 30/month. Wonndering if I should just grab this or gamble n wait. It has all the specs I wanted coming from a dx except dual core which isn't a big deal. Coming from a blackberry my dx was fast I think were getting speed spoiled now.

I have a theory that next year's follow-up to the Thunderbolt will be called the Lightningbolt. Hopefully it will be a quad-core beast, with like 4gb of RAM.

I've been hearing stores are only getting 20-40 units in. I emailed the Best Buy in Chelsea (NYC). The manager didn't know if I should pre-order so he said stop in and ask a mobile rep. I did that. They had no idea the phone was coming out and aren't taking pre-orders. So I guess I'll call early Thursday or stop in first thing.

Is it typical for the dummy units to not be out for viewing until the release date actually arrives? I've been to a Verizon store and also a BB and neither of them had units out yet.

Just got done playing with the Tbolt at the local VZW store. I must say I am very impressed! A quick speed test clocked only 5M download but over 20M upload speeds!

I got call from BB this afternoon they got the thunderbolt today. They will have my phone ready for me Tommorrow at 10am.So I will pick it up then Wow its about time.

I don't upgrade till March 2012 but I got to early upgrade and will have my Thunderbolt on Tuesday. I love the Incredible, it has been a great device till now. I had to replace it last week and the replacement is lagging/freezing. I called Verizon and because I have been with them forever, they are allowing me to upgrade early. I am glad. Excited to get this device. I know there have been improvements made since its release. There isn't another device on Verizon that has my attention. I am not a Samsung or Motorola fan. I have had LG cell phones but for smartphones, I really like HTC. I love the Sense UI. I can't wait to have this in my hands.........

My recommendation is if you have problems with your current device and they have replaced it.......and still have problems, perhaps they will allow you to upgrade early. But it is also important to be polite and friendly when you call. Being rude and nasty is unnecessary. It doesn't help the situation. I sold wireless for over 3 years. Reps have rules they have to follow and yelling and screaming isn't going to change it. There are customer care reps who care about their customers and being nice to them, is really better in the long run. I am in retail management. Just be nice....