HTC Thunderbolt turns 1 year old today; do you still have the first US 4G LTE device?


As I sit here with my beat down HTC Thunderbolt, I can’t help but to think of how much 4G LTE devices have improved. On this date, a year ago, the first US 4G LTE smartphone (out of the major carriers) was released, and its age is showing.

We have gone a long ways since then. It can be said that the device was Verizon’s guinea pig for testing its brand new 4G LTE network. It ran into many issues, such as update delays and numerous bugs. Not to mention its 3-4 hour battery life when using LTE’s faster speeds.

Current 4G LTE smartphones are much more polished, with more stable software and improved battery life. We have the Galaxy Nexus, the Galaxy Note and the Motorola DROID RAZR Maxx, among others. All show great improvement in all categories, and surely leave the good ol’ Thunderbolt in the dust.

Surely, it was great to be one of the first to experience 4G LTE speeds, though. Those loading times and download speeds seemed to fly. Something that we have grown accustomed to – going back to 3G is simply no longer an option for most of us.

Verizon and Sprint recognize this (and we are sure the others do, as well), and both companies are set on releasing only 4G LTE smartphones from now on. As Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile continue to expand their networks by adding LTE connectivity, many of the issues will continue to disappear. Just as they have been, recently.

As my Thunderbolt gives its last breaths, I plan on getting a new device within the next month. In a few days my thunderbolt’s purchase anniversary will come. It is still kicking, and it made it a long way. But it is time for a change.

Technology is advancing faster than ever, so let’s stay tuned to see how 4G technology evolves. How many of you still own the first major 4G LTE device in the US? Are you ready for a change?

[Via: Reddit]

Edgar Cervantes

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  1. I own the thunderbolt with extended battery and the only change i want is Ice Cream sandwich

    1.  Many ROMS that are ICS like…maybe a root and a ROM will make you smile?

  2. I am currently using an LG Revolution and am sad that I am not due for an upgrade for another year. And unlike the TBolt, I’m not going to get ICS. I give HTC major props for not forgetting aboyt the TBolt. My next phone will be a Nexus or HTC.

    1.  Your phone is an OK phone. LG is trying their best at getting it right. Looking for another manu might be good right now…maybe giving LG some time might be good.

      1. I did appreciate the update today, but until now it has been really difficult. to deal with (freezes, random reboots, etc). That combined with the lack of ICS support has me leaning away from LG for any future. purchases.

  3. Still have one. One year and two days old (got it early). CT ROMed, and works great. TBolts are very good phones – when they’re not running the stock OS. I didn’t realize that they weren’t upgraded to 2.3.x for quite awhile, when I noticed someone with one running Froyo many moons ago. Obviously, a year later, there are tons of phones with much better specs, but my TBolt (my daily driver) handles pretty much everything I throw at it with no problems. It plays videos, Modern Combat 3 works just fine with no lag, and it does something most of Verizon’s phones will not do if you’re in a non-LTE area – talk and use 3G at the same time. I had a GNex for awhile, didn’t care for it, and returned it. I’m waiting for a phone that really wows me. If the Droid RAZR MAXX had a replaceable battery and a non-encrypted bootloader, I’d have been all over it. I have one for work, but it isn’t technically mine, so I can’t root it anyway. I’ll see what the next few months bring.

    1. agreed it’s a good phone and I love that I can talk and use data at the same time, I actually bought it when 4G wasn’t in my area for that feature, now that I have 4G I’m even happier with it.

  4. I am so glad I got rid of that POS phone. I hate everything about it; it’s ugly, slow, and the UI sucked. Good riddance you POS phone!

    1. The ThunderBolt slow ?? Dont know where you live ????

      1. I had the TBOLT for 10 days, I never seen better speed or faster than Sprint 3G. And I live in the heart of VZW 4G LTE, I had it in July after 10 day return it back… No speed and Dropped called and never give any up date when is there is on. You can have your TBOLT, not me… I want back to Sprint I get the same speed with less monthly bill.
          Oh.. I live in Canton, MI area just if anyone  wondering where I live. I nothing against VZW or anyone just the phone I had.

        1. Some carriers do better in certain areas than others…if it works for you, then smile and be happy. Then take a class on grammar. =)

    2. Oh well. I am thinking that next time you get a new phone, you should show up to one of those “workshops” that VZW does at their stores so you can learn how to use your new phone!

  5. I own one ,yea the stock battery sucks ,but I have the extended battery and now where the hell is ICS ??

  6. mine is good to go another year!

  7. I love my Thunderbolt. It is my first Android phone and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I have to admit all of the original screw ups like late release, delayed upgrades and poor 3g – 4g – WiFi switch offs really pissed me off in the beginning. But now that HTC and Verizon have fixed those issues it is a great phone. Everyone who complains about battery life is obviously too dumb to effectively manage their battery usage. I get 10 – 12 hours every day and I use it a lot (JuiceDefender does all the work for me). It has basically replaced my laptop. Stock sense is great looking, but performance sucks. Once I read up a little on rooting and ROMing and finally did it (really easy) This phone is just as good as any phone released to this day (for what I use it for). CM7.1 is simply amazing. Anyone who complains about the stock skins on their phone: Shut up and root it and put CM on it, DONE. Seriously. Just goes to show that Android phones are the best phones as long as you are smart enough to customize them to the way you need them customized. 

    My one complaint: My 4G LTE speeds were ridiculously fast when this phone first came out and their were no other phones on the network. It has obviously slowed down since then with all of the new 4G LTE phones on the network. But really not much at all, only a bit noticeable.

    Hate all you want on the thunderbolt, if you had one and didn’t like it, well you are just too stupid to do anything about it and would rather just complain like a princess. 

    1.  +1 – I LOVE my TBolt. I’ve seen NOTHING come along since that would make me want to trade. Install CM and turn off any radios your not using (especially LTE) when not using it and I can go for 2 days without charging with a stock battery. I looked at the GNex only because of the larger screen. When you figure in the space for the menu buttons the usable screen isn’t really any larger any and if feels like plastic crap compared to the solid build of the TBolt. I also love the stand on the TBolt. I can’t figure out why this isn’t standard on all phones now.

    2. Well said.

    3. Living in Pittsburgh we have great 4G coverage here and my speeds haven’t dipped a bit since day one. Also with the coverage here running 4G 24/7 it doesn’t drain the battery at all.

  8. I had a TB until last Thursday when Verizon replaced it with a Rezound

    1. I’m not quite sure why it is that I wanted to like your comment, but I did…

      1. I wasn’t looking to switch but after my 7th tbolt replacement (6 of which were due to reboots and data issues in the first 3 months and this last one was just my microsd card slot quit working) VZW offered to swap and since my warranty was about up I went ahead and did it.

        1. 7 sounds like it’s a user problem…way too many…

          1. completely agree, there is a point where it becomes user error and once you got past 3 replacements it’s a sure thing the user is abusing their device. I’m sure though the user will never admit that they toss their phone around and refuse to take care of it but I am sure it was the issue.

  9. Had it since launch. Only replaced it once because of the rebooting issue it had. Now its rooted with the extended battery and I still love it. However the proximity sensor doesn’t work and also the headphone Jack only provides mono

    1.  Maybe it’s your ROM or are you still using the stock?

  10. The first LTE phone in the US was the Samsung Craft for Metro PCS. Thunderbolt was released six months later.

  11. Piece of crap

  12. Still rocking the Bolt. Not seen anything else that’s made me want to give it up.

  13. At first there were a lot of issues. It runs great now though and I don’t think we’re ready to give her up any time soon. 

  14. No change for me. The wife has a GNex and the battery life on my rooted and ROMd Bolt surpasses hers. I love my Bolt.

    1. I agree…with the TBolt rooted…it makes it a much better phone…especially with battery life. The hardware is awesome. What ROM are you running?

  15. Whats 4G? Is that some new drug yous kids are doin now? lol jk

  16. My wife and I got Thunderbolts on launch day switching from Sprint and a pair of EVOs. We both upgraded to GNexs recently, the Thunderbolts are for sale on Craigslist. 

  17. My Thunderbolt does every I want to right now. I will wait to see if HTC and Qualcomm get the next Nexus contract. I want an S4 Pro powered phone with removable battery. I have my upgrade available, but I will wait for better available phone(s). I might even go Moto, but only if Nexus.

  18. This has been a great device for me over the past year. I never experienced any of the issues that many had at launch. Abysmal battery life was the main issue for me. I rooted mine soon after purchase and it performed admirably with the hardware once you were able to rid yourself of the bloated stock OS. It will handle any graphics-intensive application you can throw at it and has been a joy to use as a DD. I plan on upgrading to a new device in a couple of weeks but the Thunderbolt will always hold a special place for me as one of the first LTE devices.

  19. Ironically I am using an HTC Thunderbolt which was the 1st 4G smartphone I ever owned. This is a loaner though. I have long since switched to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. I’ve come a long way.

    1. I have a TBolt and GNex…and I would have to say my TBolt gets better signal and is more reliable…I wish I could get what I love from my TBolt and squeeze it into my Nexus…including the kickstand!

  20. Y’all writers need to get your fact right do your damn research metro pcs was the first to have 4g lte and the first phone to have lte was the Samsung craft first Android to have lte was the galaxy indulge all from metro pcs do some major editing… im just saying

    1.  Your right and this article is very misleading…unfortunately it didn’t matter much as it wasn’t connected to a nationwide carrier…

  21. I’ve had it (with the extended battery) from day one. Never ran the battery dead, had it self reboot in my home town or any other significant problem. I plan to run it stock for at least another year.

  22. Still rocking mine. Thinking about upgrading but ill probably wait and see what is going to be coming around on the next six months. Honestly, it still does everything I need it to, I don’t really have any problems with it, and my battery gets me through the day.

  23. The Thunderbolt for me is a leader in it’s class, it has been the ONLY phone for CDMA networks that has a SVDO chip in it that allows both voice and data at the same time while on 3G. I live in Arkansas and we just started to really get 4G here but most of our state is without, being able to to surf and talk at the same time was a major selling point of this phone for me while on 3G. Being on 4G of course is amazing now as well, I am buying up several of these to keep in case I break mine just to have the 3G talk/data feature until 4G is everywhere always…

    1.  You can try the Rezound by HTC as well as it allows v/d in a 3G area. It’s a HTC thing…

      1. Probably a qualcomm thing.

  24. Well the 1st gen 4G devices also inlclude the LG Revolution and Driod Charge. The pace of technology is exciting as these devices wil soon be a year old too. What sucks is these sold for $300 with a 2 year contract so called subsidy and 20 months till next upgrade. Now we are treated as if ICS is not a concern for us.

  25. The thunderbolt was not the first 4g lte device in the US. Come on editors, you’re better than this.
    Metro PCS had it. If you want the proper headline then the thunderbolt was the first 4g LTE device from the Big 4 carriers. That’s accurate. What you have is not accurate. The US’s first 4g lte smartphone turned 1yr old 3 weeks ago.

    1.  What they should have said was the first network/device that anyone cared about:)

  26. I had t bolt since launch, rooted it right away, with an extended battery and liquid smooth 3.2, I don’t plan upgrade till something vastly superior is released

  27. Had one until last Wednesday. Now got a Rezound.

  28. I’m still on my Thunderbolt and will wait until my 2-year contact is up, if I don’t wait longer. Rooting and getting an extended battery have made my phone more enjoyable, but I will be sure to do more research before I buy another Android phone.

  29. I still have mine in my drawer just underneath the keyboard i’m typing on.  It’s my emergency phone if my nexus ever goes BLAH

  30. I have my TBolt and it is the same phone I got on day one last year.  I’ve been happy with its performance and I’m looking forward to it getting the ICS update.  

  31. Used the tbolt for about 10 months before upgrading to the gnex. Turns out it wasn’t really an upgrade. I’ve had nothing but trouble with the nexus. Random reboots and horrible network connectivity on both voice and data are frustrating. even the GPS locks poorly. Just killing time till the HTC one x series hits the market. The thunderbolt never gave me much trouble, especially after the patches came out. And the tbolt was so durable.

    1. That’s odd.
      I have had 1 reboot, 5 bars everywhere, and the GPS locks much faster than it did on my HTC Hero/Desire, Nexus S, or any other phone I have tested.

  32. I’m on the verge of replacing it…I don’t want to get the SGSII. Hoping SGSIII comes out soonish

  33. To Bean: thats becuz HTC makes better phones…i still have an original launch date HTC evo 4G and ive never had problems with it. I was thinking about getting a gnexus but when i heard the HTC one X was coming out, i changed my mind

  34. I still have my thunderbolt and I’ll be keeping it until November when I’m eligible for an upgrade, overall I’m happy with my thunderbolt, I run a CM7.2 Kang on it and it works great, the battery life will never be great but after a lot of tweaking the battery life along with a car charger is acceptable, I have an extended battery but it makes the phone just too big so I deal with a resound battery, the biggest problem with the phone for me is it’s size, work upgraded me to a samsung galaxy s2 on at&t and now the phone seems huge. If it weren’t for battery life and size though I’d probably feel no need to upgrade, it flys with CM7. What I’d really like next time is a high end phone 720p screen, and a razr maxx sized battery that is still thin like the razr maxx, here’s to hoping.

  35. I still have mine & it has always worked fine. My gf has a GNex but HBO Go, Max Go & Epix isn’t compatible but it is on my Tbolt, its a good phone but not good enough for me to upgrade before my contract is up.

  36. Got my ‘bolt exactly one year ago today and I’m still using the same one.   It is my first Android phone and it took me a few months to get the nerve to root it but I’ve been having fun with it ever since.  Never had an issue except when it finally got too laggy running the Eternity ROM.  Now I’m on Liquid Smooth 3.2 and the phone has never run better.  I’ll be keeping mine a while longer.

  37. I’m still using mine. I didn’t want Sense, or any other custom UI, but I also didn’t want to root or use custom ROMs. Therefore, I was waiting for the mystical Nexus Prime, but then Verizon started talking about dropping their unlimited plan, and I wasn’t sure if existing plans would be able to renew, so I bought the Thunderbolt in May. Turns out the Nexus took forever to come out, and no VZW phone before that seemed worth waiting for, so I think I made the right decision. I immediately downloaded Gingerbread Keyboard, and set up LauncherPro, so my phone has had nearly all vestiges of Sense at least visually removed. I’m happy with it, but curious what will happen with ICS.

  38. I am still on the Thunderbolt but can’t wait til Nov to upgrade. Would love if big red let me upgrade early.

  39. Lol I got my Incredible months before the TBolt was even released. Can’t wait to upgrade!

  40. My roommate has one. It’s nicknamed the “coffee table” because the extended battery makes it look like a miniature dollhouse sized coffee table. She loves it, except for the batter part.

  41. I still have my TBolt that I purchased on day 1. To say anything out today leaves it in the dust is a bit of an exaggeration. None of the new phones have anything to offer over my TBolt in day to day usage. I don’t want a screen bigger than 4.3 and my battery likes having a single core. I get 24 hours of battery on my TBolt which is more than the GNex, Maxx and Rezound users I know can say.

  42. I have had Thunderbolt for a year now. The only improvements I want out of a phone is one that can guarantee me a graceful switch between 4G and 3G networks, besides that, a rooted TBolt kills it in my opinion. Does everything I want and I am a heavy user. HDMI would be nice too.

    Funny when people say its lunky or whatever but just recently a guy was showing me a video on his phone and I was like, that’s a nice screen, hey that’s a nice phone, then i realized, hey that’s a TBolt…..#BOOM! I’ve played with many a phone, and the TBolt holds it’s own every day of the week.

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