By this point, we're all painfully aware that the HTC ThunderBolt has had more than its fair share of rumored release dates, the latest being March 17th. Of course, Verizon has never given a concrete release date, outside of "before the second half of the year," and Verizon CTO Tony Melone recently took to the stage to reiterate that point. Speaking at Credit Suisse’s Convergence conference earlier this week, Melone said that although Big Red is "working through issues" that is expected with a new technology, they're still on track to launch their first LTE-capable smartphone in the first half of this year. When asked if battery life was one of the issues that they've encountered, like we've heard in the past, the exec explained that "has always been a topic...no different than it was with 3G" and that "all the issues are being worked." Both of Melone's quotes can be found below:
"I guess our expectations change, but we had said first half of this year at CES, quite frankly, we think that exceeded people’s expectations. A year ago, people didn’t believe that there would be LTE smartphones in 2011. First half of the year is what we promised, first half of the year is still on track. So we don’t believe there are any new or surprising issues. I think what we’re facing is what you would expect, and that is a new technology, you are working through issues. And we anticipated that, and we are pleased at how we are working through issues. And as I said, you are going to see LTE smartphones on the network as promised, before the first half — before the second half of the year, by the end of the second quarter."
"I would say all the issues are being worked. I’m not sure I would say there are any key issues. Again, battery life has always been a topic of folks, no different than it was with 3G. The OEMs and ourselves, between the network and the device, we’ll optimize it and provide a battery experience that we believe will be acceptable to consumers."
Considering that the ThunderBolt is the first LTE smartphone from Verizon, we kind of expect that there'll be some kinks that need working out. Plus, it's true that VZW has never been more specific about the TBolt's launch date other than "before the second half of the year." Thanks to all of the device's leaks and appearances in Best Buy's ads, though, people are getting tired of waiting for the device to arrive, and those $300 price tags certainly aren't helping. Right now we're hopeful that we'll finally see the ThunderBolt next week, but considering all of the rumored launch dates that have come and gone without bearing any fruit in the past, I wouldn't go holding your breath or anything like that.