HTC Thunderbolt vs Intel Thunderbolt: The Tale of Two Thunderbolts

The HTC Thunderbolt was announced during a Verizon press conference at CES 2011 way back on January 8th. No firm HTC Thunderbolt release date has been mentioned by Verizon or HTC, even though Best Buy began taking reservations on February 6. The latest word is that the HTC Thunderbolt will be released on March 4…or perhaps March 10.

We’ve heard from a lot of Android fans that have been itching to get the HTC Thunderbolt. After plunking down a reservation fee, they could almost taste the Thunderbolt. But the rumored February 24 release date came and went without any notification from Verizon. An HTC rep told us there were a lot of politics at play amongst Verizon and its partners. Some people are even speculating that the delay is due to the release of the iPhone 4 on Verizon’s network.


We caught the official HTC Thunderbolt announcement back at CES and are still waiting to test out the 4G LTE handset ourselves.

More recently, Verizon released an HTC Thunderbolt commercial on its YouTube channel, before pulling it down.


Keeping geeks waiting for a gadget they’re eager to buy is like telling a child Christmas is going to be a few weeks late.


Thunderbolt Released on February 24th…

As many were hoping, there was a Thunderbolt announcement on Thursday the 24th. But it wasn’t made by HTC or Verizon.

The HTC Thunderbolt isn’t the only Thunderbolt making news recently. Intel’s been showing off its LIght Peak technology over the past couple of years at trade shows, including its own IDF events. Rumors have been swirling around its official release for quite some time, but things became official when on Thursday when Intel fired off a press release that read:

Intel Corporation today announced the availability of Thunderbolt technology, a new high-speed PC connection technology that brings together high-speed data transfer and high-definition (HD) display on to a single cable. Running at 10Gbps, Thunderbolt technology can transfer a full-length HD movie in less than 30 seconds. This Intel-developed technology is coming to market through a technical collaboration with Apple, and is available first on Apple’s new line of MacBook Pro laptop computers.

The new Apple MacBook Pro line was officially announced at 8:30 AM and were immediately available on Apple’s online store. At the same time, retail outlets across the country were busy stocking the new Thunderbolt-capable MacBook Pros on shelves. I picked one up from Best Buy and was busy writing my MacBook Pro Review a few hours later.


Thunderbolt Lessons

The HTC Thunderbolt was announced at CES 2011 to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the show. It’s created a ton of buzz, but no cash for HTC or Verizon. In fact, the delays are turning at least some would-be Thunderbolt buyers to look at other phone brands and carriers.

Apple’s learned to strike while the iron is hot, putting its devices up for sale, pre-order or at least pre-reservation quickly after announcing them. While the process isn’t always as smooth as buyers hope, its product announcements almost always have firm release dates attached.

HTC and Verizon aren’t the only ones to drum up buzz well ahead of a product launch. HP is putting a lot of effort into pushing the TouchPad even though it will be several months before consumers can actually buy one. Google gave away tens of thousands of Cr-48 notebooks to pump up attention for its Chrome OS. And RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook announcement seems to have happened eons ago.

The HTC Thunderbolt fiasco is an example of what can happen when there are too many chefs in the kitchen. Hopefully Verizon issues an official Thunderbolt update sometime this week. You can read our Thunderbolt roundup here, which includes several videos.