Just when we thought that news about the HTC Thunderbolt was going to die down now that the mystery of its long-anticipated launch has been solved, word comes that Best Buy will only be offering the LTE phone at the $249.99 price until March 20 -after which it will be $299.99. While the phone has generated a lot of buzz, it's hard not to view this price hike as Best Buy shooting themselves in the foot.
They say "talk is cheap" - and these days it seems like every major US wireless carrier is claiming to have the fastest 4G (of course 4G is a highly debatable marketing term that describes three vastly different networks, but that's fodder for another post altogether). It's relatively easy to tune all of the marketing hype out but, when presented with some solid numbers, it gets easier to pay attention. PC World has tried to give us some raw data to work with in their profiling of the data speeds on the four major providers.
Way to pour salt on your customers' wounds there,
Verizon authorized Verizon retailer: pictures have surfaced of a new flyer arriving in customers' homes (obtained by Droid Life) that shows the HTC Thunderbolt with the words "Now Available" beneath it. No, this isn't an unexpected dream come true for Verizon customers, it seems like a flub by an authorized dealer (it's unclear to us which one) that certainly can't help calm the restless natives.
Yesterday, we heard that yet another (unconfirmed) HTC Thunderbolt "release date" was a big dud, but today, we have some even more disappointing news for eager LTE customers: Verizon chief technology officer Tony Melone said that customers will have 4G phones in their hands "by the end of the second quarter." Yes, that would mean by the end of June - probably not anytime soon. While Melone intended to highlight their pursuit of excellence in this interview, I think most of us can already hear the collective groan from Verizon customers who have been anticipating the upcoming HTC Thunderbolt.
You can chalk up another false rumor on the list of "impending releases" for the HTC Thunderbolt. The latest speculation to be debunked is that the March 10 date that had been teased is a no-go, according to a leaked Verizon chart picked up by Droid Life. The internal memo shows the much-delayed Verizon phone falling sometime after the iPad 2 launch (which is March 11).
This news makes sense, as, despite the anticipation for the first 4G phone on Verizon's LTE network, the iPad 2 launch would likely take priority with Big Red.
4G is here - and it seems like all four of America's biggest carriers are more than happy to advertise the fact that they've got it. Sprint was first on the scene - offering their WiMax 4G, and T-Mobile shortly thereafter began its upgrade to HSPA+ technology. Verizon was next, providing mobile broadband LTE via USB dongle for laptops, though its much-awaited debut 4G handset, the Thunderbolt, has yet to hit shelves after numerous delays.
The Motorola XOOM: Ever since it was first teased at D: Dive Into Mobile, the Android community hasn't been able to take its eyes off the tablet's dual-core processor, gorgeous 10.1-inch display, and - last but certainly not least - Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) operating system.
Well now the device has officially gone on sale, and I've been
testing falling in love with a review unit for the last few days. Typically, I end up hating devices that I adore at first blush, but the XOOM is an entirely different story - the device is far from perfect (where are the tablet apps?), but I have yet to find anything truly upsetting about it.
It seems like only yesterday we were watching Steve Jobs reveal the second iPad and wondering how Android tablet manufacturers would react (actually, it was yesterday). Now we have news that the Wi-Fi-only version of the Motorola XOOM will be priced at $539 at Sam's Club.
Previous rumors suggested the price for the non-carrier version of the tab would be $600, so this is a bit of a surprise. Of course, wholesale warehouses like Sam's and Costco are usually able to sell for much less than other retailers (they rely mostly on memberships for profit), but this is more of a discount than would typically be expected.
While some people were unable to contemplate the possibility that Verizon's all-you-can-eat data plans would be coming to an end, Verizon's CFO Fran Shammo again affirmed the carrier's commitment to move to a tiered system today. When will life start to suck for new or upgrading Verizon customers? This Summer, apparently.
"But David, I already have an unlimited data contract, they have to honor that!" Why yes, they do. Until you want to upgrade to a 4G device, and you have to sign a completely "new" rate plan contract.
That's right, folks. Sending in your XOOM to Motorola while it's rooted will get it sent right back. Motorola will not provide 4G LTE upgrades to XOOM devices that have been rooted, plain and simple.
A forum moderator in the same Motorola support thread indicates that it's not quite as hard-line as the first responder indicated, and that your XOOM simply must be stock in terms of software functionality when Motorola receives it.