March 15, 2011 at 11:23 AM ET
Will lightning strike for Verizon Wireless' first 4G LTE smart phone, the ThunderBolt?
Verizon customers who haven't already been swept into the iPhone 4 vortex, who have been holding out for the promise of the faster 4G LTE phones, now have only to wait until Thursday, March 17 to grab the first entry into that coveted category.
The ThunderBolt by HTC will sell for about $250 (with a new two-year customer agreement) in stores and online. Android 2.2 powers the device, which features the latest version of the HTC Sense experience: New personalization options, a consolidated e-mail inbox, and camera effects and filters.
Naturally, with an Android mobile OS, Google figures prominently. Gmail, YouTube and Android Market are pre-installed.
Verizon rolled out its 4G LTE ("Long Term Evolution") network in early December, with availability now in 39 major metro areas, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, as well as smaller markets such as West Lafayette, Ind. and Rochester, N.Y. It's also in more than 60 airports, coast to coast, including all major airline hubs.
By mid-2012, Verizon's LTE network should cover about two-thirds of the United States, the company says, and by the end of 2013, will cover its entire existing nationwide 3G footprint.
Customers might really see the difference in speed with 4G LTE optimized apps such as EA’s Rock Band, Gameloft’s Let’s Golf, Tunewiki and Bitbop. According to Verizon, they can also expect download speeds of 5 to 12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2 to 5 Mbps where 4G Mobile Broadband coverage is available. Speed should also factor in with the newest generation of the 1GHz Snapdragon processor.
The phone will have so much power, it can be its own mobile hotspot and share its 4G connection with up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices. (This feature will be included through May 15 for free. After that, if they want to continue using it, customers will need to activate Mobile Hotspot at a cost $20 for 2 GB of data per month)
Other specs on the phone:
Of course, all this comes at even more of a price, since you'll need voice and data plans to take full advantage. Nationwide Talk plans begin at $39.99 for monthly access and an unlimited 4G LTE data plan is $29.99 for monthly access.
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