updated 08:50 pm EST, Tue December 28, 2010
HTC Thunderbolt spotted in official shots
The HTC Thunderbolt's name, badging and final design were virtually confirmed tonight with a scoop showing it in several press shots. Along with a shot of a "Thunderbolt" graphic that shows the tie-in to the LTE-based 4G network, they show that the phone is very close to the Desire HD. Droid-Life's collection notably shows a "with Google" badge on the back that at least supports the absence of Bing and implies a UI closer to Google's stock, although most photos have shown Sense still in place.
Apart from 4G, the Thunderbolt's main addition is a front camera for video chat and live streaming. Many now expect it to use the same second generation 1GHz Snapdragon and eight megapixel camera as the Desire HD. It may still ship with Android 2.2 onboard, although HTC is likely to give its Verizon flagship an upgrade path to 2.3 or later.
The Thunderbolt is almost certain to be shown at Verizon's LTE press conference on January 6, but whether or not it will be shipping near the event isn't certain. Verizon has only said that 4G phones will be ready by mid-2011 and could leave itself months to go if necessary.