Verizon Android phones already come with a Hot Spot feature that essentially turns their device into a Wi-Fi modem, allowing you to connect up to 5 devices and snag an internet connection. In terms of the HTC Thunderbolt we’ve seen mixed opinions on the web: first we heard the Thunderbolt will NOT support Mobile Hotspot at launch, then we heard the Thunderbolt IS Hotspot capable, then there were rumors of delays, and you won’t believe what we’re hearing now…
One of our trusted sources has chimed in saying not only will the HTC Thunderbolt come with a Mobile Hotspot feature… it will be 4G and it will be FREE! That might sound too good to be true, but don’t forget that about this time last yeatr, Verizon started offering the Palm Pre with free Mobile Hotspot so it isn’t an off-the-wall suggestion. In case you’re still in a daze: Thunderbolt. 4G Hotspot. $0. The only snag here is that it will likely be a limited time offer and “Free” might only apply to a month, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed for longer. Or permanent.
We’re also hearing that February 14th launch date will indeed be delayed with Skype being the culprit. We don’t have details on why, but perhaps they’re upping the ante and allowing Skype over 4G instead of just Wi-Fi? Doubtful as Verizon would likely forego a lot of voice plan dollars. Maybe they’ve got to tweak the app to ensure simultaneous voice-and-data are reliable and consistent when using Skype? More likely. Or maybe Skype just wasn’t ready.
The new target date range is supposedly, as the little birdie tells us, between February 17th and 24th. Not too long to wait and part of me wonders if strategic planning around the iPhone launch came into play at all?
The iPhone issue could be a core issue here- how many iPhone users will be pissed when their shiny new device doesn’t have the awesome and free 4G Hotspot feature and that it offers simultaneous voice and data over 3G? Perhaps this is a way to maximize iPhone sales before unleashing an Android with even greater capabilities. Verizon could be swinging the pendulum with strategic craftsmanship.
Keep in mind these are only rumors, but they’re also from people we trust, so we’ve got a good feeling they’ll end up being shown off in Official Verizon ink. I’ll update this post with any interesting details, or if they’re juicy enough (ex: screenshots) you’ll likely catch a new post in our feed.
UPDATE: We’re now hearing the Thunderbolt will support 8 devices connected to its Hotspot as opposed to the current Verizon default of 5