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March 15, 2011

HTC ThunderBolt Launch On March 17th

After weeks of seeing Verizon’s first 4G smartphone in advertisements and store circulars as a “coming soon” product, the HTC Thunderbolt officially lands later this week. The Google Android 2.2 device launches on Thursday for $249.99 with a 2-year contract, includes wireless hotspot capabilities — free until May 15 —  HTC’s customized Sense interface and of course, access to Verizon’s speedy LTE network.

HTC Thunderbolt, the first LTE-supporting smartphone on Verizon’s network, will be available starting March 17 for $199.99 with a two-year contract, according to online retailer Wirefly.Without a contract, the device will cost $669.99.

Wirefly’s site showcases several photos of the device, as well as a full list of specifications: 4.3-inch touchscreen, 8-megapixel camera with LED flash on the back and another 1.3-megapixel camera on the front, 8 GB of built-in memory and 32 GB of additional memory on a microSD card, and a single core 1 GHz Snapdragon CPU.

As far as Android smartphones go, the HTC Thunderbolt is not a groundbreaking device, but its support for LTE makes it special. LTE (Long Term Evolution) is the widely adopted 4G-ready mobile network standard that will enable previously unattainable data transfer speeds (up to theoretical peak download rates of 326.4 Mbit/s) on mobile phones.

Some high level specifications and features of the new handset include:

  • 4G LTE – download speeds of 5 to 12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2 to 5 Mbps in 4G coverage area
  • 4.3” WVGA (800×480) 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
  • Built-in kickstand for easy media viewing