Print 33 comment(s) - last by robinthakur.. on Mar 18 at 1:02 PM

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: Still Waiting
By JasonMick on 3/15/2011 3:34:36 PM , Rating: 4
Anyone else waiting for one of the new dual-core Android phones?

I'm by no means an Android detractor (I own an EVO 4G), but I don't get the idea of dual core smart phones. For what? My EVO can already run PSX-looking 3D games, edit docs, surf the full net... pretty much do anything I want.

I'd much rather have better battery life than an extra core.

To me I think part of the dual-core smart phone sales pitch is because it SOUNDS impressive. But if you're actually actively running both cores, I'd hate to imagine what your battery life is. My EVO is doing well to make it through 10-11 hrs, even spending the majority of that on standby with maybe an hour or two of active use.

I COULD see dual-cores being a nice perk on tablets, which have larger batteries, though...

RE: Still Waiting
By FDisk City on 3/15/2011 4:16:35 PM , Rating: 2
I guess it's more future-proofing than anything else. I'm concerned a new game or OS will come out in maybe a year that will require/greatly benefit from using a dual-core. Plus, it impresses the ladies. :)

I only buy a new phone once every 2.5 or 3 years, so I want it to last. But if you wait for the best to come out, you'll wait forever...

I'm very impressed with HTC phones like the EVO. I hope they release a dual-core phone soon.

Also, the Tegra 2 processor is supposed to be very efficient but battery life is a concern of mine. I see your point.

RE: Still Waiting
By DanNeely on 3/15/2011 5:11:15 PM , Rating: 2
I think the immediate benefit would be multi-tasking performance in that you can eg stream music in the background without impacting the performance of your angry birds session.

Assuming power gating is in place for each core separately, I don't expect it to cause a battery hit when not being used. Atom SoCs are getting a 2nd core for the same reason that desktop ones did a few years ago; within the current power envelope adding a core did more for general performance than adding more circuitry to make a single core faster.

RE: Still Waiting
By thrust2night on 3/15/2011 11:03:43 PM , Rating: 2
... then I recommend you read this.

A lot of the data is from Nvidia so I admit some exaggeration may be involved, but the benefits of dual cores over a single core is obvious. I would agree with you on the battery issue if both cores were constantly pegged at a hundred percent against a single core pegged at a hundred percent but considering real world usage, a dual core phone is easier on battery life.

RE: Still Waiting
By robinthakur on 3/18/2011 1:02:17 PM , Rating: 2
To a degree it is future proofing, but this argument in the smartphone space holds less water as you get a new one every year.

I think the battery performance impact of having 2 cores is the most important detractor (unless you are Apple) and the fact that, incredibly, the Android interface still looks choppy even with all this power because there is no GPU acceleration to speak of. Until they implement this and work on the overall looks of Android a bit so it's less inconsistent and pig ugly, I'll pass thanks.

"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs

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