Verizon Android rumor bonanza: Merge delayed to include LTE, Incredible HD launching early 2011
Hungry for some Verizon LTE Android rumors? I hope you've got a big appetite, because we've got a cornucopia of 'em to sort through. All of these rumors come from @V3RDICT on Twitter, who is apparently a device rep for Verizon. First up, we have the HTC Merge. The Merge has posed for numerous photo shoots, looking basically complete and ready for launch, potentially on November 11th. Obviously that date is looking extremely unlikely now, but it wasn't far off, at least at one point. @V3RDICT believes that the Merge was set to arrive on November 23rd, but has since been delayed. The reason for the delay? Verizon and HTC decided to throw in an LTE radio. Even with the delay, the source says that the Merge "might" still be launched this year and that it will be the first LTE device on Verizon.
Next up in rumor roulette, we have what's likely the only Verizon Android device more anticipated than the Merge: the Incredible HD. Originally leaked way back in August (so long ago!), we recently heard that not only would the IHD sport an LTE radio, but that it may be launching on November 23rd. Now it looks like that date may have been off by just a bit. According to our friend @V3RDICT, the Incredible HD will make its debut on the "first of the year."
Finally, @V3RDICT finished his string of Android hearsay with a rumor about HTC and Verizon's plans for the beginning of 2011. Apparently Verizon will be releasing a new HTC-made Android phone each month of the first quarter of 2011. So that means three new handsets, right? Not so, says Mr. V3RDICT, as there may actually be four total over the span of the first three months of the year.
That's quite a few rumors to digest, so let's just go down the line and see what we can do with them. First up, the Merge. After looking at all of the leaked images of the Merge in the wild that we've seen over the past couple of months, I thought that it seemed ready to rock. It probably was just about complete, too, if the November 23rd launch rumor is true. It seems kind of strange that Verizon and HTC would delay a handset that's basically complete just to throw in an LTE radio, especially since Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam recently said that his carrier would have six LTE smartphones on display at CES 2011. I'm sure that an LTE-ready Merge could be a big hit, but even without the 4G, it would probably move quite a few units.
The rumor about the Incredible HD launching at the beginning of next year seems plausible. We only saw a couple of photos back in August, but it, too, looked pretty complete. What better way to kick off the new year than with a 4.3-inch, LTE-capable beauty like the Incredible HD? Lastly, I wouldn't be surprised to see three or four new HTC Android phones on Verizon in Q1 2011. After all, we've all seen the rapid pace at which new Android phones are introduced into the market. So, folks, now that the dust has settled, which rumor do you believe? Would you rather wait to pick up an LTE Merge, or would you prefer a regular 3G Merge sooner? Who would win a (dog)fight between the LTE Merge and LTE Incredible HD?