While the prospect of seeing the HTC Thunderbolt on this side of the Atlantic is not likely to happen any time soon - due to the lack of a 4G network rather than HTC’s reticence to ship it to the UK - it doesn’t stop us having a look at the phone that launched in the US yesterday.
We managed to get a look at the Thunderbolt at CES last Janaury and the 4.3in behemoth is certainly an impressive piece of hardware. Of course we have already seen phones of this size, but the inclusion of 4G compatibility will of course be the outstanding feature of the phone which went on sale on Verizon's LTE network yesterday. The phone, which costs $250 on a two-year contract, features Android 2.2 with the ubiquitous HTC Sense 2.0 UI over-layed, an 8 megapixel camera with HD video recording, 768MB of RAM, and a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 chip to handle the 4G download speeds.
Last December, we heard from HTC CEO Peter Chou that the Taiwanese company would not be bringing an LTE phone to market until the end of this year, but with the momentum of 4G growing, especially in the States, HTC has brought the Thunderbolt out ahead of schedule. While not all Americans will be able to take advantage of Verizon’s 4G network, HTC is obviously looking to establish itself from the very beginning of the next generation network. It has already produced the HTC Evo which used the rival WiMAX 4G standard.
While we continue to trial LTE networks on this side of the Atlantic, there is as yet no sign of when any of the providers will be ready to roll out a working 4G network so we will have to wait patiently to get our hands on phones like the Thunderbolt.