Rumor: ThunderBolt landing on Best Buy's shelves on February 14thAlex Wagner - Deputy Managing Editor, News Desk
Even though the HTC ThunderBolt was announced way back at the beginning of the month, we're about to enter February without any official release date from Verizon or HTC. We've heard February 24th, but some newly-leaked documents show that Best Buy may be getting the device even sooner. Up above you can see a Best Buy inventory screen for a Verizon handset that's going to be in stock on February 14th. The ThunderBolt isn't explicitly mentioned, but the number you see circled in the upper left corner, 044476816574, was also spotted in a hands-on video of the TBolt that was supposedly made by someone from HTC. The video has since been removed, but you can see the number, clear as day, in the proof of purchase area on the box.
On a ThunderBolt-related note, the folks at Droid-Life have been handed a leaked document that may dampen your excitement for HTC's new handset just a bit. While the TBolt is set to be one of the first handsets on Big Red that can use Skype video chat over 4G and will also be able to act as a Mobile Hotspot for up to eight other devices, this new doc claims that neither feature will be available to users at launch. There's no mention as to when they'll be made available.
Previous rumors pegged the ThunderBolt's launch at the 24th, but perhaps Best Buy is getting it a little earlier than Verizon's stores? After all, we have heard that BBY has exclusive retail rights to the device, so maybe they were able to get an earlier launch date included in that agreement. As for the lack of Skype and hotspot features at launch, that news is kind of surprising. The TBolt is a pretty big device for VZW, and you'd think that they'd want to have all of its high-profile features available right away. At least we got more confirmation that it'll be able to do simultaneous voice and data over 3G, I suppose. Still, it makes you wonder why they're holding back two of the ThunderBolt's biggest features. Are they simply not going to be ready at launch or is there some other, perhaps iPhone-related, reason? What do you all think?