Verizon announced today that its first 4G smartphone, the HTC Thunderbolt, will be available starting March 17 for $249.99 with a two-year contract.
Announced at CES 2011, the Thunderbolt has been one of the most anticipated smartphones of the year so far, as it's the first phone to take advantage of Verizon's LTE network, which promises download speeds of 5Mbps to 12Mbps and upload speeds of 2Mbps to 5Mbps.
The smartphone can be used as a mobile hot-spot capabilities for up to eight devices and comes preloaded with several 4G-optimized apps, including EA's Rock Band, Gameloft's Let's Golf, Tunewiki, and Bitbop. CNET also confirmed with Verizon that the Thunderbolt will be able to do simultaneous voice and data over 3G.
In addition to the 4G capabilities, the Android 2.2 device features HTC Sense, a 4.3-inch WVGA touch screen, a kickstand, an 8-megapixel camera with HD video recording, and a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera for video calls. The smartphone is powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and has 8GB of onboard memory, as well as preinstalled 32GB microSD card.
The HTC Thunderbolt will require a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk plan and a 4G LTE data plan. Voice plans start at $39.99 per month, and the unlimited 4G data plan costs $29.99 per month. Verizon said it will allow customers to use the mobile hot-spot feature for free until May 15; afterward, customers will need to pay an additional $20 per month (2GB data cap).
We're hoping to get you a full review soon, so be sure to check back. For now, you can check out our hands-on impressions from CES and let us of know if you plan on making the HTC Thunderbolt your next phone.