The HTC Thunderbolt may have the privilege of being the first 4G phone to launch on Verizon, but according to some information received by our friends at Droid-Life it will be launching without two significant benefactors of that extra “G.”
The first feature that will be tardy for the party is Mobile Hotspot, which of course is that bit of software that allows you to share that powerful 4G connection with up to 8 other devices. We had seen another recent leak indicate that this feature might not be available at launch and this unfortunately confirms it.
The second casualty is the Skype mobile with video app. According to the screen shot there will be a placeholder Skype mobile icon on the second home screen (apparently to taunt you), but it will only pop-up a helpful little “Coming Soon” message if you try to launch it. We spoke to the Skype team at CES and they were quite adamant that the app was all but done and would be ready to launch with the Thunderbolt, so it’s a little disconcerting to see that they apparently ran into problems with it at this late date. While the utility of video chat on a phone may still be questionable it is a feature that the competition is pushing hard and launching without an app to support it on the phone is disappointing to say the least and likely will be a source of frustration for early adopters.
No word on when either of the features will be enabled, but for the Thunderbolt’s sake it better be pretty quick as it already has the deck stacked against it with the dual-core Droid Bionic and a slew of other 4G phones hot on its heels (oh yeah, that 3G phone from Cupertino too).
To avoid being all doom and gloom let me point out that the leak does reiterate that the Thunderbolt will have the ability to use simultaneous voice and data over 3G (even if it isn’t an experience consistent with the Verizon brand).
Are you surprised that Verizon is going to go ahead and launch the Thunderbolt with these features missing or is just getting a 4G phone on the market as soon as possible more important than ensuring a completely fleshed out experience?