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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
DANGER: There is a link to download this unofficial, unsupported CM7 ROM in an XDA thread linked at the bottom of this post. Use of that software is 100% at your own risk, and unless you're a developer, there's not much reason to be playing with at this point. There is no data connectivity, no sound, and no Google Apps. Consider yourself warned.
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.
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.