According to a few loose-lipped Best Buy retail employees I spoke with, the HTC Thunderbolt will go on sale on March 10, not tomorrow (March 4) as had been previously slated. The March 4 HTC Thunderbolt release date was the target as recently as late last week, but apparently not all of the ‘politics’ have been resolved.
The HTC Thunderbolt si the first phone to run on Verizon’s insanely fast 4G LTE network. In some markets we’ve seen 4G LTE modems hit speeds of 16mbps and higher using a dongle plugged into a laptop. The HTC Thunderbolt has the potential to be the speediest phone in America when it arrives.
But of course, the Thunderbolt has to actually go up for sale before we can talk about speeds too much. According to Best Buy employees at three separate Best Buy retail locations, the HTC Thunderbolt is in Best Buy’s sales system with a scheduled release date of Thursday March 10.
Best Buy began taking pre-orders for the HTC Thunderbolt and as of today still is. Obviously it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to take pre-orders just hours ahead of the Thunderbolt’s debut.
Those who have placed their Thunderbolt pre-orders at Best Buy may get a rude awakening when the phone finally does go on sale. Best Buy has been taking Thunderbolt pre-orders with a $50 deposit. A special gift card is given in return, but that doesn’t guarantee you’ll actually get a Thunderbolt on launch date. According to the reps I spoke to, they have no idea how many HTC Thunderbolt units they’ll get in the initial shipment at each store and there’s been a ton of interest in the device. If there are more pre-orders than actual Thunderbolts, they’ll be sold to those with reservations on a first-come, first-serve basis.
An HTC representative had told us that the Thunderbolt would be released on March 4, barring any further ‘politics’ between Verizon and its partners. He insisted the phone was ready to, at least from HTC’s point of view. He showed us his demo Thunderbolt, but it did not have LTE activated.
The HTC Thunderbolt was introduced in early January at CES 2011. The device is very slick and we spent a lot of time playing with it. You can read more about the HTC Thunderbolt’s specs and details here.
The HTC Thunderbolt is also being sold by Verizon stores, but the ones I spoke with are not taking pre-orders. Verizon has yet to make any official announcements about the HTC Thunderbolt’s availability. In fact, the wireless carrier’s asked excited HTC Thunderbolt fans to ‘move on to other topics’ on its Twitter account. Verizon still hasn’t announced anything through its special HTC Thunderbolt alerts page either. Verizon pulled the HTC Thunderbolt commercial from its YouTube channel last week. Verizon’s CTO insisted that the HTC Thunderbolt will be released very soon. Hopefully, March 10 qualifies as soon.