I’ve said it 10 times before, and I’ll say it again: a Verizon launch isn’t a Verizon launch without a series of rumors and leaks all culminating with official (and quiet) confirmation from either them or a major retailer. The HTC Thunderbolt’s ride has been no different.
A lot of stuff came in over the weekend. Just as we imagined they would thanks to a leaked circular last week, Best Buy is now taking pre-orders for the HTC Thunderbolt. $50 down will get you a spot, of course, but we still don’t know this phone’s release date. For all we know, it may not even be launching February 14th. More on that in a bit.
Folks have also uncovered another phone simulator, this time made for Best Buy’s use. You can check out the virtual preview for the device right here. (You’ll need flash installed, of course.) And to wrap up the Best Buy parade, accessories are landing in their stores, which normally indicates a launch isn’t far off.
We just have to figure out how long “far off” is for Verizon and Best Buy. Rumors from DroidForums – the folks who have been so reliable with Verizon-related information in the past – say the HTC Thunderbolt will be delayed 2-3 weeks from its originally planned February 14th launch, and it’s because of one very fruity reason: they don’t want it to be overshadowed by the launch of the iPhone 4.
There’s also a logistical angle to the move, according to the rumor, as Verizon wants to make sure store traffic doesn’t completely overwhelm them. The two week window would give them time to sell the iPhone and deal with any returns and exchanges without new customers excited for the Thunderbolt having to deal with the chaos. Take this one with a grain of salt.
Finally, a Verizon store opening will be celebrated by giving the Thunderbolt away. The Northampton, MA launch takes place February 12th, and as far as Droid Life is concerned, at least one lucky winner will be walking away with the phone. Let’s hope that the store is stocked to the roof with units to prepare for a February 14th launch after all.