Are you guys beginning to wonder what the heck happened to Verizon's HTC Thunderbolt, and LTE service in general? Apparently, when they said they would roll it out and offer the phone in the first half of this year, they meant that both literally and cryptically vague. Tony Melone, Verizon’s chief technology officer, recently addressed Credit Suisse’s Convergence conference. What he had to say didn't exactly inspire confidence that 4G LTE would be spreading like wild-fire anytime soon. Industry rumor has suggested that the hold up is a combination of technology and pricing issues, and his speech indirectly confirms at least the technology part of that equation.
When asked why LTE smartphones are taking longer than expected, he said,He sure seemed to 'dance around' the question didn't he? Perhaps he has a great career in politics. Regardless, he was also probed about the rumored 'battery life issues' with the HTC Thunderbolt, and he replied,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.Well, that's a little less vague, but still not exactly a full-blown refutation of the rumor. With the Thunderbolt floating in limbo, and now, LTE service several months away, I'm frustrated, but also still cautiously optimistic.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.
I would hate for them to release a smartphone or a full service that was buggy and useless before making sure it was fully 'baked'. Perhaps they have our best interests at heart (or at least as it affects their ultimate bottom-line) and we should try to be patient. What do you guys think? Should we give them the benefit of the doubt?