Verizon HTC Thunderbolt: Eight Key Features and Facts

Verizon Wireless this week releases the long-awaited Android-powered Thunderbolt smartphone from HTC. Here are eight facts and features you need to know about Verizon's first LTE handheld before you buy.

By
Tue, March 15, 2011

CIO — U.S. wireless carrier Verizon today confirmed that its much anticipated Android smartphone, the HTC Thunderbolt, which was announced back in January at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), will be released this week, on March 17, for $249.99 with a new service contract.

Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt Android Smartphone
Verizon's (VZ) HTC Thunderbolt Android Smartphone

With so many feature-packed handhelds available today, it can be a chore to determine which smartphone is best suited for your individual needs. To help ease that burden, I've broken down the facts and features that set the new Google (GOOG) Android 2.2 HTC Thunderbolt apart from the competition.

1) HTC Thunderbolt is the First Verizon LTE Smartphone

The HTC Thunderbolt is the very first smartphone to run on Verizon Wireless's 4G, LTE network. That means Thunderbolt owners should see download-speeds of five to twelve Mbps and upload-speeds of two to five Mbps, or more than two to three times the average Verizon 3G speeds, according to the carrier and assuming you live in a Verizon LTE coverage area. (Check out Verizon's LTE coverage map.)

And as a LTE smartphone, the HTC Thunderbolt is a true 4G device&unlike some other new-ish handhelds deemed 4G devices that really aren't, such as the Motorola (MOT) Atrix 4G/HTC Inspire 4G/etc.

Not only should the Thunderbolt see some of the highest data-transfer speeds available on Verizon today, users will also be able to place voice calls and surf the Web at the same time--a feat not currently possible via Verizon's 3G EV-DO network.

Since wireless coverage should be one of, if not the most important consideration when purchasing a new device, you should make sure you're satisfied with Verizon's network in your area before running out to grab the Thunderbolt. Potential buyers may also want to hold off on the Thunderbolt for at least a month or so, since it is the first LTE device, and it's not unheard of for carriers to experience initial problems with new devices on new-ish networks.

2) HTC Thunderbolt is Not a "World Phone"

The Verizon HTC Thunderbolt may be a blazing fast device while connected to Verizon's LTE network, but unfortunately for global travelers, it is not a world phone, meaning the device won't work on GSM networks outside the United States. (Many of Verizon's other high-end devices, such as the BlackBerry Bold 9650, work on both Verizon's CDMA network and other GSM networks.)

The Thunderbolt's network compatibility is officially listed as LTE 700, CDMA EV-DO revA, so it will only work on Verizon 3G and 4G networks, and that could be a deal breaker for many folks who frequently travel outside of the United States.

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