This story was originally published and last updated .
Android's been around quite a while at this point (Google's Android turned 12 last year), and even Android phones have been around well over a decade now. And while obviously hardware like the HTC Hero matters in terms of where the platform got its start, and ones like the original Moto DROID mark its real entry into the marketplace in a big way, we think there are phones (and even A tablet) that are less remembered or less appreciated for their impact on the larger ecosystem.
After, when's the last time you thought of the Galaxy S2, or the HTC One M7?
The Thunderbolt has had one weird life. It was VZW's first LTE phone. But it was less than stellar, and had lots of problems. Then HTC promised that it would get ICS, which got delayed again and again. And again. But it finally came out, and Tbolt owners were kinda happy about it for five minutes.
Now the brick-of-a-device is in line to get another small OTA, which fixes some stuff that you may or may not use:
Microphone now works with HAC enabled
HTC Watch now shows titles available for viewing or purchase
Amber alerts are now visible
Text messaging app has been improved
Improvements to Yahoo and Microsoft Exchange Email Connectivity
The details of the update just hit VZW's site a bit ago, which generally indicates the OTA is ready to go and should start hitting devices in the coming days.
Update: The OTA is rolling out now. Go get it! Thanks for the heads-up, James!
We didn't think it was possible. We thought it was abandoned, left on the side of the road where no one would ever find it. Yet here, through the fog, a light comes shining through: Verizon is actually releasing Ice Cream Sandwich for the HTC Thunderbolt. Assuming that users haven't already thrown theirs into a lake by now.
The support page says the update is "coming soon", so we can't confirm exactly when the OTA will roll out, but the important thing to take away here is that it's real, it's definitely coming, and it won't be long now.
Since hearing earlier this month that HTC's Desire S, Thunderbolt, and other select handsets would receive ICS updates "by the end of August," we have heard nary a peep from the Taiwanese manufacturer. Today though, thanks to an alleged leaked RUU, we have a stock Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.3 build for the Thunderbolt (aka Mecha).
According to Administrator's post at TeamBAMF's forums, the ROM, based on a leaked RUU (and carrying build number 7.00.605.2), is said to be fully functional and fully stock, but it's worth noting that the ROM is deodexed and rooted, meaning those wishing to retain root are in luck, but if you – for one reason or another – want a strictly stock, non-rooted experience, you'll have to wait.
Today on Facebook, HTC took to answering some user comments about ICS timelines for a few of its flagship devices. In particular, the manufacturer confirmed that both the Desire S and the Thunderbolt would be receiving updates to Android 4.0 before the end of this month. The latter in particular is good news, as rumors have been circulating that the Thunderbolt would not receive the upgrade after its similarly-specced sibling, the Desire HD had its frozen dessert planscancelled.
Furthermore, HTC pointed out that all the devices the company has announced an Ice Cream Sandwich update for (read: these) will receive said upgrade by the end August.
Remember the bug-fix build for the HTC Thunderbolt that we leaked last month? Turns out Verizon decided it was OTA material, because the support docs were just updated with details of this same build (2.11.605.19).
The OTA brings a handful of fixes to Big Red's first LTE device:
The update should begin rolling out shortly, but if you don't feel like waiting, you can always hit up this post and flash our leak. Enjoy.
It's been a while since VZW showed any love to Thunderbolt owners, but that doesn't mean that it has forgotten about them completely. In fact, we just received a leak of a new build that brings some fixes and enhancements to Big Red's first LTE device.
1. HTC ThunderBolt / All Early Verizon 4G LTE Phones
It's really hard to know where to start with the ThunderBolt. It wasn't actually a terrible phone in terms of usability or performance, but the delayed release, abysmal battery life, overheating, and seemingly endless wait for Android 2.3 drew more angst from owners than probably any other device we've ever seen.
In a continued effort to unlock bootloaders everywhere using their online tool, HTC has added several exciting entries to the "supported devices" list. Perhaps the most notable of the new entries are the Droid Incredible 2 and HTC Thunderbolt. Officially, HTC's online unlock tool is compatible with all devices launched after September 2011, but the new additions reflect an effort to add compatibility for older devices.
Update: HTC just added the Incredible S to the mix. Go get unlocked!
"What does this mean for users of the Incredible 2 or Thunderbolt," you may ask. An unlocked bootloader basically allows users not only to root their device with (relative) ease, but also to write to partitions that may otherwise be protected (namely the recovery partition), opening up even more possibilities for those interested in tweaking their phone to perfection.