HTC was the first handset maker to deliver a 4G phone, the EVO 4G. Then they were the first to offer a 4G phone for T-Mobile, the G2. Now it looks like HTC will be the first with a 4G LTE phone on Verizon, the Thunderbolt.
A new teaser has appeared on HTC’s mobile site that says “The first to 4G, again. Find out January 6th”. That just happens to be the same day that Verizon unveils a half-dozen LTE devices, so it’s pretty obvious what HTC is hinting at.
Verizon recently said that Motorola had an LTE phone coming (the dual-core Etna) and we also saw a mysterious Samsung phone with LTE, but it makes sense that HTC could be first since they have been working on their handset the longest.
We first heard about HTC’s phone in August when the Mecha codename leaked and then BGR posted the first pictures of the device in the wild. The original version of the phone was Verizon’s take on the Desire HD and it was rumored to launch on November 23rd as the Incredible HD. Then we learned that Verizon pushed the phone back to next year so that HTC could add support for 4G LTE.
Most recently, HTC began leaking pictures of the device to build some hype and today we learned the final product name could be Thunderbolt. Verizon has been testing this phone since early November, so all signs point to an early 2011 release.
There might be some crazy surprises packed inside the Thunderbolt, but most likely it will share the same components as the Desire HD and myTouch 4G. That means you should expect a second-gen 1 GHz Snapdragon processor and 768 MB of RAM. Based on other leaked pictures, we also know the device has Sense UI, a front-facing camera, kick-stand, and a micro SD slot.
If I was a betting man, I’d say that Verizon reveals the Thunderbolt on January 6th and then puts it on sale the following day. HTC is pretty confident that they will be first with a 4G LTE handset, so we expect their phone to land before Motorola’s Etna which is rumored for February-March.