March 7, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
The HTC Thunderbolt on Verizon has been seen and heard for months, but we still don’t know when it will be released. Best Buy has decided the waiting sucks and has at least told us how much the first Verizon 4G phone will cost: $299.99.
Best Buy previously announced that it would have a national retail exclusive on the Thunderbolt for what was originally thought to be a mid-February release. The Thunderbolt didn’t arrive during that window – some said because of battery issues, others because of network concerns – but whatever the reason, Best Buy is back to advertising the phone once again, which could signal that the Thunderbolt is finally closer to its release.
According to the Best Buy weekly ad, the Verizon Thunderbolt costs $299.99 with a two-year agreement. The phone is a whopping $749.99 when purchased off contract. The $299.99 listing bucks the trend of high-end Android smartphones being released for $199, and makes the Thunderbolt the most expensive on-contract phone seen in quite some time. This may cause some buyers to opt for an iPhone, Droid X, or wait for one of the many phones expected to be announced at this month’s CTIA show.
Verizon may price itself out of the market, but the Thunderbolt could still garner support thanks to some strong features. The Thunderbolt supports Verizon’s 4G LTE network, Skype video calling with a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, 4G Mobile Hotspots, HTC Sense 2.0, 8GB internal memory and an included 32GB microSD card, and an 8 MP rear camera that can record 720p video. We’ll know soon if the Thunderbolt specs are enough to make people fork over the extra dough.