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Finally Official: HTC Thunderbolt Launching March 17 at Verizon for $249.99

Somebody pinch me, I must be dreaming. Verizon Wireless has finally issued an official press release detailing the launch of their first 4G LTE handset, the HTC Thunderbolt. The most recently rumored release date of March 17th looked all but locked in thanks to recent leaks, but you can go ahead and circle the date on your calendar. This Thursday, the Thunderbolt will be available for all.

The Thunderbolt will retail for $249.99 on a two-year contract, and 4G data plans keep the same pricing scheme as Verizon’s current 3G offerings. $29.99 gets you unlimited data. Until May 15th, all Thunderbolt owners will also receive free use of Big Red’s mobile hotspot capabilities.

Now that we know the date is official, life can finally return to normalcy. See below for the full press release.

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. – 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.




  • Jayne Cobb

    Figured it would happen today. About time, too.

  • Pavel

    Wait, no mobile hotspot after may 15!? WTF?!

  • Jon

    Finally, now we can all relax until thursday and pick this badboy up.

  • Richard Yarrell

    Thank God we can DUMP THIS HUNK OF JUNK to the side and move on with some WORTH WHILE COVERAGE of a real device that will BLOW OUR SOCKS OFF IN 2011… The HTC EVO 3D….

  • http://gghh good.

    Good now all u bitches can stop complaining and get it like me. :p

  • Brutalsnowman

    4G will be awesome when it comes to your area… but I just cant justify dropping 250 for a 4G Incredible with a larger screen and SD card.

    I am worried about them raising the price of 4G once LTE covers a larger area… but I think I would still rather wait for an Atrix type device. Or at least a device with an upgraded CPU.

    And knowing HTC they probably went with the older Bluetooth radio.

  • Paul

    Haha Richard Yarrell is a troll.

  • tim242

    Richard, hate to burst your bubble. But…the Evo 3D is LG, not HTC. Enjoy that junk!

  • MT

    Wait a minute. All this hype for this? Why is everyone so excited over this phone? Is it because it’s the first 4g lte phone on verizon’s network? I’m sorry, but it’s not worth my enthusiasm if that is the only new feature it is bringing to the market.

  • rushmore

    If you want 4G unlimited, this will probably be the one and only chance. I want a dual too, but 4G unlimited more so.

  • Brutalsnowman

    @Richard Yarrell

    3D phones are a marketing ploy. I don’t see how it is useful in anyway. I don’t even see why it would be cool. maybe on a tablet but on a phone?

    Now if I could set my phone down and it projected a hologram… that is something I could get in to.

  • http://Phandroid Dave

    Love when people comment and they know nothing of the phone. Makes my day start with a smile.

  • tim242

    MT: It is also bringing simultaneous voice/data on CDMA 3G : )

  • http://gghh good.

    MT if u dont know the specs then shut the fuck up.

  • Mitchell

    It touches me. At night.

  • joey

    today just started off with some good news!!!! now i don’t have to check every 2 hours to see when this phone is coming out. SOOO EXCITED!

  • jbart

    @pavel
    You’ll still have hot spot capability after May 15, it just wont be free

  • Willie

    I bet it will have 4 hour battery life on a good day.

  • Richard Yarrell

    @tim242… TRUST ME ON THIS… The Htc Evo 3D will be made by HTC not LG even though I give LG some credit for having great devices this year they won’t have there hands on this Evo 3D. Htc has been working on this Evo 3D since October of last year as well as working on 3D technology quite as kept they are working on quadcore as well which will grace our future Evo’s down the road. This Evo 3D will….. FLOOR EVERYONE MARCH 22… Talk about specs this device will be TRULY CONSIDERED THE BEST BASED ON TECHNOLOGY…. We will all see 7days from now

  • yukoncornelius

    People commenting on this device are hilarious…

    1. Its not a verizon evo, if you have any knowledge whatsoever and actually took the time to research the thunderbolt you would see that it is most definitely an improvement from a specs perspective.

    2. This isn’t just verizon’s first 4g phone… LTE is a TRUE 4g technology, why do some of you not understand why this makes the thunderbolt game changing. Unlike other carriers, they ACTIVATED the network before releasing devices (HUGE props to verizon for that). At&t doesn’t have a 4g network, its marketing propaganda. Tmobile (who I’m with now) has a very successful HSPA+ network that hits 8+ mbps in some areas. Unfortunately I usually only get around 3mbps. Sprint and wimax has been decent but they’ve been slow to expand. The Verizon network, I know its not a totally fair comparison but based upon usb devices that are already in the market, IS SERIOUSLY fast.

    There is more to a phone than specs… the network itself is as cool as a phone, and it looks so far like Verizon is about to leap over everyone. Lets not even mention they have the most widespread 3g network to begin with.

    I’ll be switching thursday not purely because of the device, but also because LTE is an awesome technology that is finally here.

  • rushmore

    Catch is the EVO 3D is on Sprint, which sux butt for data coverage and uses VZW towers for 2.5G data when roaming.

    I will take better long term 3G/4G coverage over an even faster chipset any day :)

  • Dave

    What is the big deal about this phone??? It’s a Verizon version of the Evo; nice phone, but nothing we haven’t seen before….

  • Pavel

    @jbart I know, but $20 extra… come on.. I can use my nexus one as a hot spot now for free… will I still be able to do that for free (3g) on verizon… as in the hostspot $20gb is only 4g?

  • utes

    4.Richard Yarrell wrote on March 15, 2011

    Thank God we can DUMP THIS HUNK OF JUNK to the side and move on with some WORTH WHILE COVERAGE of a real device that will BLOW OUR SOCKS OFF IN 2011… The HTC EVO 3D….

    What is an HTC EVO3D? I’ve never heard of one. Do you mean the LG EVO 3D? For a guy who loves his EVO so much, you don’t know shit about about them.

  • SKiTz

    Verizon’s first 4G phone? YAY!

    A device with dated specs for $250? LOL Wut!?!

  • Richard Yarrell

    @Paul……. Your a DOPE…..

  • Guest

    @yukoncornelius…It looks just like the EVO – nothing spectacular about it. Here’s hoping that Verizon charges you an arm and leg for using this so called 4G service and here’s hoping you get 4 hours of battery life!

  • Pavel

    I just bought a wifi only ipad 2.. I might as well trade up for a 3g one since i originally thought i could use my tbolt for free via hotspot.. even 3g.

  • C MAC

    Yes!

  • Nlsme

    All htc phones “look” the same. The thunderbolt and the evo are similar in size only. Look at the specs, not the looks, dipshit. And, the evo runs on a “so called 4g network”, that happens to be a joke. Its a “mobile” network, wimax fails at being “mobile”. You move, and bye bye speed.

  • Nlsme

    Ohh, and as already stated, the data prices are staying the same.

  • Dave

    @ yukoncornelius:
    Apparently you have no clue what you are talking about. LTE is NOT true 4G. 4G standards as defined by the International Telecommunication Union are networks that achieve speeds of 100Mbit/sec, which is at least ten times faster than any of the “4G” claims of these networks:
    http://mobile.computerworld.com/device/article.php?mid=1&CALL_URL=http://www.pcworld.com/article/211292/4g_turning_into_meaningless_moniker.html…….they’re all lying! So it is true that the Thunderbolt in nothing but a Verizon Evo…..period

  • Richard Yarrell

    Key question…. What makes this thunderdud better than the htc inspire 4g on at&t?????????? Front facing camera…THAT IS IT… Otherwise they are the SAME device. Difference is the networks Verizon vs At&t. The only thing this fake evo wanna be device has that the current king of android the evo 4g doesn’t is 256more ram, and the new htc sense it took 9months for that???? Htc gave verizon and at&t HAND ME DOWN DEVICES… When everyone in the industry knows that Sprint and htc have the best of business relationships WATCH HOW THE NEW HTC EVO 2/3D comes out with specs that will make you wonder why not the Thunderdud and inspire 4g…. 7days and counting till EVO 2 BLAST OFF

  • Pavel

    The Inspire and Evo 3D are/will be great phones from a hardware perspective, but the AT&T and Sprint networks don’t hold a candle to LTE. You are better off locking in that unlimited data from VZW before they go tiered.

  • Cap’n Awesome

    Sprint is for hipsters… why dont’t you just get an iphone since you like technology that looks nice and works like crap.

  • yukoncornelius

    Some of you are so dumb… yeah it looks like an evo, who cares? Look at the quadrant scores you idiot, they’re not the same at all. As far as battery life, I’ll leave it to the XDA groups to provide fixes (I never leave a phone stock) as they’re far more efficient than the manufacturers.

    Whats different than the inspire? Alot, do your research. And most importantly THE NETWORK. Inspire 4g? At&t calling anything 4g right now is a freaking joke.

  • Nlsme

    Htc wont be involved in the evo 3d. And the differances between the evo and tb go a lot further then that.

  • Matt Benn

    Haters gonna hate.

    @Mitchell – hilarious.

  • Pavel

    There’s a 2750 extended battery that will come out for the thunderbolt… it’s on preorder lol

  • Lucian Armasu

    Guys, you should wait for first reports on battery life. LTE might seriously affect battery life.

  • Pavel

    I already know the battery life will be awful.. my friend has the Evo and the 4G drains it like mad..I don’t mind carrying a backup battery like I do for my nexus one, especially when traveling.

  • http://Phandroid Daveb722

    Plus you get a 32 gb class 4 card. Thats worth $75-100 at least. Going to be a great phone, can’t wait till Thursday. So many haters, if you don’t like the phone, move on.

  • Jumbo

    Here comes the haters. “but this phone is like an Evo for Verizon” “There are better phones coming around the corner” “battery life is going to suck” STOP, JUST STOP!!! No one cares about your negitive comments.

    Yes, this phone is made by HTC but it is not an EVO. Its got some better specs and its on my network and if it may look like one then that is fine with me cuz I luv the EVO.

    Also, There are always better phones coming around the corner. You hear of one coming out next month. Another one will pop up a week before that one comes out with better specs. Im sick of waiting. I just going to jump the gun and Im sure this will be a fine phone.

    and OF COURSE the battery life is going to suck. Its a SMART PHONE. No smart phone has good battery life. Just let it go. Im not worried about it. I have plugs all over my house and I even have one in my car. When im not using it, i can charge it. Not a big deal.

    Im going to get this phone and im going to be perfectly content with it while you guys just keep waiting for the next big thing to come out. Please stop drinking that Haterade.

  • Destardi

    Um, why do you all sound like pms’ing women? It’s a phone, if you want it buy it, if you don’t (that’s you richard!) Then don’t buy it.

    Take a chill and stop being so mean to each other, fuckin pricks (lol).

  • MT

    @good. – I am sorry I offended you by saying this “phone” isn’t worth all the hype. Apparently you are really excited about getting this phone, and are quick to go on the defensive when someone puts it down.
    -
    It is just a phone, and it is just my opinion. I don’t browse this site to argue with anyone, or to be rude in any fasion.

  • Devil

    This phone will be outdated in 3 months, whats the big hype?

  • KSChris

    @Devil

    um… EVERY phone is outdated in about 3 months.

  • iKing

    @Dave…..Exactly. All of these fools fighting over whether or not their network is 4G, when the fact is, NONE OF THEM ARE! Real 4G is 100 megabits per second, you dopes. None of these technologies, not LTE, Wimax or HSPA+ come even remotely close to 100 megabits per second, so you all look like morons with your penis-measuring arguments…..

  • ToastnJam

    lol…classic

  • yukoncornelius

    @Dave and iking – really guys? really? It’s semantics at this point… MY POINT is that LTE is the more powerful and reliable technology. Why are sprint, tmobile, and at&t all interested in getting LTE? Exactly, just stop, there is no argument. Back to your cute “verizon evo” – what do you say about the difference in quadrant scores? Actually I really don’t care what you say because you keep saying its an evo with no evidence to back that up.

  • Buck

    Wow. It’s like some people are actually offended by the fact that people want this device. Let’s clear up a few misconceptions:

    1. It’s not an EVO. Even if it looks similar and the processor inside both is called “Snapdragon,” Quadrant scores for the Evo are in the 1100 range, compared to the 1900 range for the Thunderbolt. So, speed-wise, the Thunderbolt blows the Evo out of the water. I’m sure the Evo is a very nice phone, but it’s not the same phone as the Thunderbolt.

    2. You don’t have to pay more money for 4G. Did you read the same article I did? “4G data plans keep the same pricing scheme as Verizon’s current 3G offerings. $29.99 gets you unlimited data.” I’ve got unlimited data on my Apple 3G on AT&T. I, for one, cannot wait to dump Apple and AT&T and get on Verizon’s network for better coverage and–eventually–a faster network (LTE won’t be to my area until end of 2011). It’s like a little bit of future-proofing for your device.

    3. The new generation of Snapdragon, while not quite competing with the dual-cores coming out, still performs very well against them. Consider the roughly 2100-range score the dual-core Droid Bionic scored in Quadrant. It’s a little quicker than the Thunderbolt and it will probably be a great device, but I’ve been done with my AT&T contract since the end of January and I don’t want to wait any longer to see how they compare, side by side.

    In short, this is going to be a great phone. Yes, there are going to be other great phones coming out in the next year, but that’s the way the technology is. You can ALWAYS wait to get something with better specs. A year from now people are going to be saying “why buy [name a dual-core device] when [some yet-unknown quad-core device] is about to be released?” You get what you get when you’re ready to make a purchase. I’m ready to make a purchase and I’m probably going to purchase the Thunderbolt.

    Now, queue the first raving lunatic who’s frothing at the mouth ready to tear apart my post…

  • yukoncornelius

    @iKing – so you’re telling me that the jump from what was defined as 3g technology (usually 800-2000 kbps)… the next step up to “4g” technology is 100,000 kbps? That’s a damn joke … get real. A logical jump would be reliable 6000-20,000. The fact that verizon’s LTE is getting 20,000 (20 megabit) right now is a pretty NICE leap. However saying that 4g must be 100 megabit – Thats not even remotely close to an evolution in technology, that is 3-4 evolutions in technology. Your average hardline speed is not even anywhere close to 100 megabit.

  • Buck

    @yukoncornelius – They’re technically correct. The ITU developed the standard on this, originally placing “4G” at 100Mbps. So, according to that standard, nobody really offers “4G.” HOWEVER, since the industry basically ignored the ITU’s ruling, the ITU readjusted its 4G requirements in December of 2010. Check out this article: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2374564,00.asp To quote, the term 4G “may also be applied to the forerunners of these technologies, LTE and WiMax, and to other evolved 3G technologies providing a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third generation systems now deployed.”

    So, really, they can all use the term 4G. Perhaps more helpful, as you are indicating, is to just name the technology, HSPA+, WIMAX, LTE, etc. Or, maybe just use the average download and upload speeds, like in this chart: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2373676,00.asp

  • iKing

    @yukoncornelius: I’m not telling you anything……these are the words of the INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATION UNION…….the people who are actually responsible for defining the standards of true 4G! True 4G is called LTE Advanced……a technology that won’t be available until 2014 at the earliest. So in the words of Denzel Washington in the movie Malcolm X, “you’ve been had! Bamboozled! Led astray! Run amok!”…..lol

  • Jumbo

    Thank you buck! Couldnt of said it better myself. I will be getting this phone on Thursday during my lunch break for sure and I know I will perfectly happy with it. HTC TB FOR ME!

  • Buck

    @iKing – Why are you so hung up on the term 4G? The ITU already cleared its use (see my above post). It’s not a “bamboozle.” It’s a marketing term that does more to harm those with advanced networks (WIMAX and LTE) than anything. Just focus on the speeds and don’t worry about the 4G label.

    From what I can see, yukoncornelius hasn’t been tricked, at all. It appears to me that he clearly understands the difference in speeds between the networks and recognizes that the term 4G doesn’t matter that much.

  • steve

    HTC THUNDERBOLT all you EVO owners can suck a dick

  • Cap’n Awesome

    in regards to 4G speeds being 3-4 evolutions… standard definition of 4G is 100 mb/s – the only reason it isn’t capable of it yet is the algorithms used to relay the data, sort fo like how our cell phones used to be brcks and now they fit in the palm of your hand… it’s only a matter of time until they figure out how to do it… and also, 100 mb/s is definitely achievable with landline – i have full speed turned on through broadband internet at my job and i consistently get between 150-200 mb/s down, 50 up (its the provider that throttles it, not the technology)

  • Will

    @tim242, and Nisme:

    A sprint employee (HALCYONCMDR117) on a sprint forum posted this:

    The EVO name is registered to HTC, not Sprint.

    Here’s the link (the 6th post):

    http://community.sprint.com/baw/message/269120

  • yukoncornelius

    @Buck – thank you – you’ve made me confident that there are individuals out there that still have the ability to process information and be logical. Who cares about the term 4g. I’m talking about actual speeds…. proof is in the bandwidth, not the term. LTE is a real advancement and props to verizon for bringing it forward first, and ramping up their network before they release devices (AT&T is the opposite of this). So what I’m saying is that when the thunderbolt is a 4g phone, it’s not marketing propaganda, you will see very real differences in speed. Don’t get me wrong you do with Sprint (wimax) and Tmobile (HSPA+) but it seems like LTE is the most reliable, hence all other carriers wanting to adopt it as long term plans. So what I’m saying is a carrier that already has LTE is way ahead of the game and thus a device releasing on that network is way ahead of the game.

    sidenote – I preordered from wirefly, can’t wait to get my thunderbolt :)

  • Kirkland

    There are a few sane posts here but most are clearly provided by a bunch of clowns. Let me dispell some of the half-truths and out-and-out BS these clowns have been clouding the truth with. 1. 4G – The 100Mb spec is a lab spec not a realworld spec. No carrier has hit it yet but VZW is closest; achieving 60Mb in a Lab with LTE and a 2×2 MIMO antenna configuration. AT&T on the other hand didn’t need to test in a lab. They got a 4G network by flipping a switch….in their marketing department. Recent article from PC Mag states that their tests show AT&T 3G devices outperforming the Atrix and Desire which are both labeled as 4G…so AT&T’s 4G is slower than its 3G. Huh! Sprint’s 4G claim is way off the mark as well with average download speeds in the 2.5Mb range and let’s hope that their partner Clear doesn’t fold this summer from a lack of cash. 2. Battery life – LTE actually delivers 30% more efficiency than EVDO in battery life. WiMax on the other hand was not intended for mobile deployment so battery life was never a concern during design which explains why the EVO has a lousy battery-life reputation. Suffice to say making comments about battery life is silly as we don’t know what the net performance will be as there are too many factors that affect battery life. 3. Lastly, for VZW there is more going on in the wireless network than LTE. Eventually, as the network expands and all traffic is running over an all IP core with intelligence supplied by IMS, new applications will surface that transform the consumer experience to a whole new level, which a device with simply newer hardware spec’s or faster network throughput cannot provide on their own or jointly. In summary what everyone on this site wants is a new, better and/or transformative experience– all over again — like when the iPhone was first offered or the 1st Android came to market. You just won’t duplicate that with evolutionary changes to the device or network. However, with LTE, EVP and IMS, it’s possible, and those that buy a VZW LTE device like the Thunderbolt will be the first to experience it.

  • Dave

    Have any of you actually tried LTE? of not, you sure are drinking a lot of kool-aid

  • scadole

    I have an LTE usb that get 20mbs to 32mbs at the fastest I’ve seen (i live in philly).

    LTE is a beast and s is this phone. I assume the 2nd gen snpdrgn and ram upgrade will lead to better battery life than the evo…. Remember, this is htc’s second try at an already amazing phone.

  • yukoncornelius

    I tested LTE in Columbus and was getting 25 mbps downstream… that’s ridiculously fast. Easily faster than my cable connection. Even if it’s less than half that at 10 mbps … if it’s consistently 10 downstream with over 2 mbps upstream – IT IS ON ANOTHER LEVEL network wise. Sure the phone isn’t dual core but its specs are no joke… very nice benchmarks, 32GB of storage, running on the fastest network in the country – still don’t understand why so many people are hating the thunderbolt.

  • yukancornelius

    When people hate on VZW and their LTE network they are just admitting to everyone they don’t know very much and that they can’t afford to pay for the best service.

  • KSChris

    Anyone know if Verizon would let me upgrade a week early for this?

    I’m eligible for an annual upgrade next Thursday.. but I figure, one week early shouldn’t be a big deal for them, right?

    Any VZW employees here who can answer this?

  • Shea

    @KSChris
    I believe you’ll be able to upgrade in one of two ways. Either Verizon will allow you to upgrade to the device just like any other upgrade or they will charge you their early upgrade fee of $20 to upgrade to the device. On a completely different not though, there is one smartphone that has excellent battery life especially for a CDMA device and that is the Verizon iPhone 4. Trust me I’m an android fan, and the only reason I’m not getting the thunderbolt is due to a lack of 4g coverage where I’ll be living. If there was I would surely get the best 4g device, the thunderbolt. Due to the fact that there will only be 3G available in my area for some years to come I went with the best 3G device, the iPhone 4.

  • http://mensahwatts.com MensahWatts

    So it is officially coming out on the 17th fo sho now…hu…if another delay comes ithink that many of those that plained to buy this phone-will think twice about getting it…I do wonder if this means 4g will be put on The Xoom…now days form now?

  • http://www.neediff.com Prasad

    HTC Thunderbolt looks nice with good features