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The HTC Thunderbolt will be Verizon first LTE phone. That makes it one of the most compelling smart phones of the spring.  (Source: HTC/Verizon)
The new handset launches March 17 on Verizon

The wait for a true Verizon 4G phone is almost over.  Verizon Wireless, America's largest carrier, is set to become only America's second carrier to offer a phone that supports true fourth generation wireless technology, following in Sprint's pioneering footsteps (T-Mobile and AT&T advertise HSPA+ as "4G", but it's roughly half as fast in its current form as deployed LTE and WiMAX from Verizon and Sprint, respectively).

The HTC Thunderbolt will land on March 17, and come complete with a $249.99 USD price tag with two-year contract, according to a long awaited official announcement.

If you were hoping for Android "Gingerbread" 2.3, you won’t find it with this release. The phone only comes with Android "Froyo" 2.2 (though a Gingerbread update will likely be in the works before long).

Otherwise the phone packs solid hardware.  It offers a massive 4.3-inch touch-screen WVGA display and standard 8 MP/1.3 MP rear/front cameras for imaging and video chatting.  It features one of Qualcomm's next-generation 1 GHz SnapDragon single-core processors.  

The new phone's resemblance to the HTC EVO 4G on Sprint in features and looks is somewhat uncanny.  Like the HTC EVO 4G on Sprint, it has a kickstand, for watching movies when you're seated.  It comes packed with 8 GB of internal flash and a 32 GB microSD card.

Verizon will be offering customers LTE data for the same rate as 3G -- $29.99 USD for unlimited use (Sprint bumps its 4G data rate by $10).  If you want a hotspot, that will be an extra $20/month.  The hotspot will be capped at 2 GB per month (unlike Sprint's which is currently unlimited) and will support up to eight devices.

Compared to other Verizon offerings like the recently acquired iPhone 4, the Thunderbolt looks competitive from a hardware perspective.  While it lacks a dual-core CPU like the upcoming Motorola Atrix "4G" on AT&T (which can only muster HSPA+, not true 4G), ultimately it should have more than enough power and the single-core processor will arguably be more beneficial in terms of prolonging battery life -- a trouble spot for HTC in the past.

And at the end of the day, having LTE is what really sets this phone apart.  The EVO 4G and Epic 4G on Sprint were arguably two of last year's top smartphones, not so much because of their hardware (which was matched by similar or identical models on other networks), but for it's ability to tap much faster data speeds.

A lot of the utility of a smartphone is the ability to browse the web, send emails, and more.  In general data speeds still have a ways to go before attaching large files like pictures to emails becomes painless and until web browsing reaches desktop-like page load speeds.  The switch to 4G wireless technologies is an important step in that direction.



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RE: 'Next generation'?
By JasonMick (blog) on 3/15/2011 3:30:39 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Doesn't sound 'next generation' to me, the referenced article is talking about single cores at 2.5GHz and then dual and quad cores as well.


Atom Medfield CPUs are "next generation" even though most operate at around 1 GHz and are unicore.

Just because you can clock a core @ 2.5 GHz doesn't mean you'd want to for ultra-mobile hardware like smart phones with small batteries.

That's why I'm a bit skeptical of the gains of dual-core smart phones. It SOUNDS great, but ultimately, I'd rather have one really efficient core that can do everything my HTC EVO's 1 GHz last-gen processor can, but be able to go back to the days of my old Samsung Clamshell from the mid-2000s that would last for a few days on a charge.

I know that might not be a realistic dream given the power consumption of wireless communications & the larger screen, but what I'm trying to say is that at this point battery life is a bigger issue than CPU processing power on smart phones, hence why Apple, HTC, and many other smart phone makers underclock, undervolt, and buy low-clocked next-gen chips.


RE: 'Next generation'?
By FITCamaro on 3/15/2011 5:06:40 PM , Rating: 2
They could do it if they didn't insist on building the thinnest phone possible. I'd gladly buy a phone a few millimeters thicker for extra battery life. Not to mention cooling. Todays smartphones get pretty hot when doing intensive apps like GPS navigation since they basically use the case as a heatsink.


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