We reported earlier that Best Buy confirmed a March 4 release date for the HTC Thunderbolt via Twitter, but that date isn’t set in stone. According to an HTC product specialist we spoke to while he was in the midst of training Verizon employees on the device, there a lot of politics at play and nobody’s 100% sure when the device will actually launch.
I noticed the HTC Thunderbolt at a San Francisco Verizon location as I was purchasing a Motorola Xoom. When I saw the back of the Thunderbolt on the counter I asked him if it was for sale. He told me it would be either a week or two.
March 4 is tentatively the release date, but he said there’s been a ton of politics between all of the players involved in the release. He didn’t name names, but presumably that means HTC, Verizon, Best Buy and other retailers. Politics, as the rep calls it, is the only thing between the HTC Thunderbolt and those itching to get their hands on it. The Thunderbolt is ready to roll, both hardware and software wise, and countless units are rolling off production lines in the Far East.
Obviously another week would be a downer for everyone that’s had their hearts set on getting the Thunderbolt since it was announced at CES 2011 in January, especially for those who’ve pre-ordered the device. Best Buy began taking Thunderbolt pre-orders on February 6 and is still taking them as of today. Hopefully there will be plenty of Thunderbolts to go around on launch day. If Best Buy’s overbooked pre-orders we expect to hear stories of Android Rage.
The HTC Thunderbolt unit he had on hand was fully functional, but it didn’t have an active data plan, which meant I couldn’t play around with it too much. I played with the HTC Thunderbolt for a few minutes, but didn’t really get to see anything that I haven’t already since we got some quality hands-on time the device at CES (video below).
So there we have it from a somewhat official source. Friday March 4 is the date to look forward to…unless politics get in the way. The rep insisted it’d be no more than a week after that if something went wrong. So if you don’t want to drive yourself crazy, plan on picking up your Thunderbolt on March 11 and you’ll feel grateful if Best Buy tells you to come by on March 4.
Despite previous reports of Best Buy exclusivity, the HTC Thunderbolt will be widely available on launch date at Verizon Wireless stores nationwide.
This is the HTC Thunderbolt ad that’s hitting the airwaves with the hopes of drumming up mainstream demand for the device.
It’s been a long road for Android fans since rumors of the device first surfaced late last year, but the Thunderbolt is almost here.
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