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Verizon releases HTC Thunderbolt

Verizon Wireless’ first LTE smart phone, the Thunderbolt by HTC, hit the marketplace March 17. The phone, which is available exclusively from Verizon, runs on the Android 2.2 OS and features the latest version of the HTC Sense experience, which offers personalization options, a consolidated e-mail inbox and camera effects and filters. Thunderbolt includes a 4.3in display, 8-megapixel rear camera (with HD 720p video recording), a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, 1GHz Snapdragon processor and mobile hotspot capability The phone also comes equipped with support for Google Mobile Services, including Gmail, YouTube and Android Market, and 4G LTE optimized apps such as EA’s “Rock Band,” Gameloft’s “Let’s Golf,” TuneWiki and Bitbop. The phone also has a built-in kickstand for media viewing.

Customers will need to subscribe to a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk plan, which begins at $39.99 per month, and a 4G LTE data package; an unlimited 4G LTE data plan is $29.99 per month. Mobile hotspot functionality will be included through May 15 for no additional charge; after May 15, Mobile Hotspot will cost $20 for 2GB of data per month. The phone retails at $249.99 with a new two-year contract. The Thunderbolt was designed by HTC to run simultaneous data and voice over the 3G network when out of reach of Verizon’s LTE network.

The Thunderbolt is the world’s second LTE smart phone, following the recent launch of MetroPCSSamsung Galaxy Indulge.