HTC Thunderbolt Delayed Until March 4

Hoping to get your hands on an HTC Thunderbolt today as previously expected? Well, you better not get too excited as Best Buy has confirmed that the HTC Thunderbolt launch has been delayed and won’t be in stores until March 4…maybe.

One of Best Buy’s stores tweeted the above message yesterday, but Best Buy corporate hasn’t weighed in on the issue. The store is located in Roseville, Calif. and the Tweet was sent from an iPhone.

Update: We’ve received word that March 4 is indeed the target date, but a mid-March release isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. Read our latest HTC Thunderbolt update here.

Best Buy began taking pre-orders for the HTC Thunderbolt at the beginning of the month, asking customers for a $50 deposit. Some customers have received emails telling them that their HTC Thunderbolts would be available for pickup this week. Best Buy is still taking Thunderbolt pre-orders at its retail locations, but not taking them via BestBuy.com.

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Here’s our hands-on look at the HTC Thunderbolt at CES 2011.

An earlier rumor pegged the official HTC Thunderbolt release date to be today (February 24) and a Thunderbolt commercial that began running on TV networks earlier this week seemed to confirm that time frame. As you’ll see in the commercial, HTC Thunderbolt pricing and availability is notably absent.

The HTC Thunderbolt is the first 4G phone to run on Verizon’s LTE network, which means there are more potential issues than with a rollout of a phone on Verizon’s 3G network.

Frustrated HTC  Thunderbolt Fans

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To say those who’ve pre-ordered the HTC Thunderbolt are frustrated would be an understatement. Commenters here at GBM and elsewhere are growing increasingly impatient and simply aren’t getting straight answers from Best Buy and Verizon.

GBM Reader ‘kalel51′ left the following comment on an earlier article about the HTC Thunderbolt:

I called BB too, they are full of crap. I pre-ordered, they said the 13th. I call on the 13th, no juice, the 24th is now the day. I call today, no dice, now they don’t know when. This is a public relations nightmare for Verizon. Maybe I should dump my 5 phone lines (4 with data), my mifi, my home phone, and Fios and just give them the finger. (But damn, I still want the phone :( )

Thunderbolt Delay Conspiracy Theory

Some of those waiting for the Thunderbolt  are wondering if the repeated delays has anything to do with the launch of the iPhone on Verizon’s network. Perhaps Apple negotiated a gap between the launch of the iPhone and the launch of other smartphones, especially those packing LTE heat. The iPhone 4’s wireless technology is relatively dated compared to LTE. This means the Thunderbolt will load web pages and download/upload data at a much faster rate than the iPhone 4, assuming the Thunderbolt is being used where there’s a solid LTE connection.

No Official HTC Thunderbolt Updates from Verizon

Verizon has yet to send out official alerts regarding the Thunderbolt release date to those who’ve signed up for email or SMS notifications. We’re assuming the alerts will be sent out at least a day or two before the HTC Thunderbolt officially goes on sale.  You can sign up for alerts at Verizonwireless.com/htc/thunderbolt/.