2011 will come to an end in just a few short hours, and we are just in time with our annual top 10 list of the most-watched Gear Live video episodes. Over the past year, as expected, there was a bunch of Apple gear that made the list, but the HTC Thunderbolt gets two of the top spots, as does the Motorola Xoom.
For a limited time, Amazon has slashed the price on the HTC Thunderbolt 4G for new Verizon Wireless customers. The phone, the first on Verizon's LTE network, has been reduced to $129.99 from the usual price of $249.99.
The offer is only good for those new to Verizon, and they must sign a two-year contract. Existing customers looking to upgrade will have to cough up $199.99 for the smartphone.
Verizon sold has sold 260,000 of the Thunderbolt since it launched on March 17, president and CEO of Verizon Telecom and Business Fran Shammo said in a Thursday earnings call. The company has also sold another 250,000 4G LTE Internet devices, Shammo also said.
Amazon's offer is good until midnight pacific time on Monday.
Read More | HTC Thunderbolt sale
The HTC Thunderbolt is the world's first 4G LTE smartphone. It's available on Verizon Wireless in the US, and also acts as a 4G mobile hotspot, allowing you to connect up to 5 Wi-Fi devices to the 4G signal. It ships with Android 2.2, sports a 4.3-inch display, and even has a kickstand around back. In this video we give you a look at the Thunderbolt, perform a speed test, and also do a speed test comparison with an iPhone 4 on AT&T.
As you'll see, the device is ridiculously fast, especially when compared against an AT&T 3G smartphone like the iPhone 4. The screen looks great, and the phone feels good in your hand. If you're a Verizon Wireless customer, this is definitely one to consider, as long as you have a charger in the car and/or at the office, as this thing will eat through a battery like it's nothing. Check the video for the full scoop.
I'm addicted to 4G, and it could happen to you, too.
By now, almost everyone has seen TV commercials advertising 4G phones. Essentially, a 4G mobile hotspot lets you work anywhere as if you were at home or in the office with a fast broadband connection. With sustained average download speeds in excess of five megabits per second, it's likely you won't be able to tell the difference.
Granted, many felt the same way about the first 3G cellular modems released several years ago. But the Web has become much more advanced since then; all that extra AJAX and HTML5 code takes more bandwidth. People are also streaming more music and video these days. As a result, 3G no longer seems like enough.
In addition, the Apple iPhone 4 and Android smartphones running OS 2.2 (commonly known as Froyo) now offer mobile hotspot capability. That means that for an extra monthly fee, you can use your phone as a 4G hotspot for up to five devices—or even eight, in the case of the HTC Thunderbolt. You no longer need to buy a separate cellular modem, which was really just one more thing to carry around, charge all the time, and worry about losing. Mobile hotspot access averages $20 per month across the major U.S. carriers. That's not chump change, but it's a long way from the $50 to $60 per month a separate USB modem normally costs.
Verizon launched its LTE network in December with 39 markets, and unveiled 49 more at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, so Tuesday's announcement will bring the total number of cities with LTE access to 147 by the end of the year.
"Aggressively expanding this powerful network beyond major metro areas reflects the reality that the 4G LTE ecosystem is growing quickly," David Small, chief technical officer for Verizon, said in a statement. "Our commitment to reach deep into medium-sized cities and smaller communities by the end of 2011 means the power of 4G LTE can be harnessed and provide advanced services to law enforcement, healthcare workers, educators, and other professionals, as well as to individual consumers, sooner than many thought possible."
We just got our hands on the HTC Thunderbolt, the very first 4G LTE smartphone, offered by Verizon Wireless, and we're currently testing the thing out. Our review and videos will be coming soon, but let's just say, 4G mobile hotspot on this thing is absolutely amazing. Anyhow, while we finish all that up, we figured we'd hit you with our HTC Thunderbolt unboxing gallery. We put a grip of images together to give you a look at this fantastic device.
In our tests, I got eight hours of 3G talk time with the Thunderbolt, six hours of video playback time, and only 2.5 hours of LTE streaming. So what's an Internet fan to do?
HTC and Verizon will offer a very high-capacity extended battery, the companies told me. The 2750 mAh battery is nearly twice the capacity of the Thunderbolt's built-in 1400 mAh unit. The big battery will cost $49.99 and will be available very soon, said Pat Bucci, Verizon's director of accessory products.
The new battery makes the phone about an ounce heavier than its existing 6.5 ounces, and it comes with a new back that makes the phone deeper as well, Bucci said.
"We want customers who are power users, that are going to have the hotspot on all day, to just go," he said.
Droid Life on Tuesday posted photos of the HTC Thunderbolt, which it says will be Verizon's first 4G LTE device. The site didn't have any details on specs except to note that it looks a lot like the Desire HD. The device features a kickstand and Google branding.
Verizon said it has no comment.