The HTC Thunderbolt is important for one reason: 4G. But that one reason promises to change the way mobile phones are used, the same way that the move from dial-up to broadband at home led to a completely revolutionized computing experience. The Thunderbolt is, on the whole, a really nice phone: it takes proven hardware and taps it into Verizon's ludicrously fast LTE 4G network. But should this be your next smartphone? Well…maybe not.
Until now, bandwidth-hungry mobile apps often needed Wi-Fi to back up their connection. Now Verizon’s Long-Term Evolution (LTE) is setting devices free.
Verizon is broadcasting its new 4G network at 700 megahertz, its own segment of the wireless spectrum. This space lets even large high-def files transmit quickly in two directions, perfect for video conferences. Currently in 38 cities, covering about one third of the population, LTE towers are expected to provide nationwide broadband by 2013.