Well, well, well, look at what we've got here - it's none other than the elusive Skype for the HTC Thunderbolt! If you remember, Skype was supposed to be pre-installed on the Thunderbolt but didn't actually make it onto the final product. We also told you that Skype Mobile for Android with video was coming to all VZW LTE devices back in January, and it looks like we're finally getting what was promised. I don't have a Thunderbolt myself, but from what I've heard from our own Justin Case, it works flawlessly on 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi, all with superb video quality.
An independent test conducted by a research firm in New York City comparing the speeds of Verizon's and Sprint's respective 4G networks has made at least one thing clear: Big Red owns the Big Apple. After conducting over 1000 individual network speed tests in various locations throughout the city, BTIG Research tallied up the averages, and it's not a pretty picture for Sprint:
The connections were tethered through an HTC Thunderbolt and an HTC EVO 4G, respectively
You're seeing that right - Verizon's 4G LTE is averaging a whopping 10.3Mbps (down) when on a laptop tethered to an HTC Thunderbolt, while the EVO 4G barely eeks out 1.6.
It appears Verizon has altered the terms of its "Certified Like New Program" ("CLNP") (pray they don't alter them further) to be a lot more demanding regarding the condition of exchanged devices.
Namely, if you send in your destroyed DROID, don't expect to get a shiny new replacement without a serious penalty - all phones sent in on warranty exchange must now meet the following requirements:
CLNR Cosmetics Standards
CLNR Cosmetic Standard Summary:
- No blemishes are permitted on front surfaces such as the touch screen, keyboard
- No more than two flaws, which must be less than 5mm in length, are permitted on other surfaces
- No flaws or defects on lens
- No dust, dirt, or fibers under lens
- Ports must be free of foreign material and corrosion, be in operating condition, and have the plugs in place if applicable
This means even if your Android device suffers from a warrantied defect and fails, you may be out of luck trying to get it exchanged if you haven't kept it in tip-top condition.
In an awe-inspiring display of the ThunderBolt's raw horsepower, Derek Rodriguez (@drod2169) has thrown together a kernel which enables CPU speeds of up to 1.8GHz - a figure to which even the mighty Motorola XOOM can't lay claim. What's more, when @TheRealBeesley ran the kernel through Quadrant, he was met with (nearly) unprecedented results - have a look:
The kernel has not yet been released, which is simultaneously fortunate and tragic for ThunderBolt owners - on one hand, 1.8GHz is an undeniably crave-worthy speed; on the other, well, you know you don't want to leave your handset at such high velocities when even Derek notes that "you think I'd really let my phone sit at that?"
Nevertheless, this is a fantastic example of what the ThunderBolt's hardware is capable of and what we can expect from future mods (especially now that we have the necessary resources) - developers, go, go, go!
After bickering back and forth with the Android community about the terms and timelines of kernel source releases and getting flooded with emails, HTC finally put together the source code for the Thunderbolt kernel and uploaded it to their developer portal.
The file weighs in at 87MB and will enable ROM developers to finally do some proper work on custom ROMs, including improving battery life, over- and under-clocking, and implementing other tweaks (hopefully, it includes LTE drivers so that CyanogenMod devs don't have to reverse engineer the protocol and write their own).
Download the kernel v2.6.32 from HTC or our direct mirror below:
Source: HTC Developer center
Update: Linux devs are not happy about this.
Update #2: And just like that, only a few hours after this article, HTC released the Thunderbolt kernel source.
If you've been following the "drama" around Android kernel source release timelines and device manufacturers (such as HTC), you should be already aware of 2 forces pushing in opposite directions:
- On one side, we have the Android community, which maintains that according to GPLv2, Android kernel sources need to be published together with a given device release. Since Android kernel sources are essential to custom ROM development, it is clearly in the interest of the community to see them released sooner rather than later.
Here's some news that ought to make ThunderBolt owners smile: an HTC representative reportedly told a customer that Gingerbread will be made available for Verizon's new flagship phone in - wait for it - Q2.
According to Droid Life, John (or rudyt83) emailed HTC customer support after experiencing some issues with Bluetooth on his new ThunderBolt. HTC's (rather lengthy) response included this little nugget of information:
We are excited to announce that the Thunderbolt will receive the Gingerbread (Android 2.3) update in Q2 2011. Stay tuned for details as we get closer to the update availability.
The rep proceeded to list features added in Gingerbread, though the similarity to Google's own Android 2.3 changelog leads us to believe that the additions aren't specific to the ThunderBolt.
One of the most popular questions about rooting the ThunderBolt is how to undo the process and return to stock, which renews your eligibility for customer support. Well, here you go:
Please read the whole tutorial first, and pay attention to every detail. Note that your battery needs to be charged to at least 40% at the beginning of the process, and remember to check the MD5 sums of all downloaded files before diving in. As always, neither Android Police nor Team AndIRC are responsible for any damage this may cause to your phone, and, needless to say, returning to stock means you will no longer be able to use root apps like ShootMe and Titanium Backup.
A number of Gingerbread-hungry developers (including some from the CyanogenMod team, particularly Slayher) are hard at work preparing CyanogenMod 7 for its Thunderbolt debut, and progress is steadily being made. In the video above, you can see CyanogenMod 7 successfully booting up on the HTC Thunderbolt (albeit without the signature boot animation) and running through various simple tasks in Android.
Droid-Life has just confirmed what Justin's been hearing: that Verizon's network is having issues. Apparently both 3G and 4G are affected, and Thunderbolt activations are also reportedly being held up. No word on what the issue is or what areas are affected, but Droid-Life has asked readers who are experiencing issues to drop a line with the details in the comments, so that would be a good place to check.
Justin Case and TeamAndIRC have been fielding complaints/accusations/questions from angry rooted Thunderbolt owners who think their root method may be to blame. Don't worry - that's not the case; your rooted Tbolt has nothing do with it.