HTC Thunderbolt Supposedly Ditching Skype, Isn't Even True LTE Smartphone
It's been hours since we've heard an HTC Thunderbolt rumor, so I was beginning to worry. Fortunately, this one just broke within the hour over on Geek.com.
Supposedly, Verizon has decided to ax Skype's video chat from the much-discussed, but yet to be officially-given-a-launch-date smartphone. This is not the first time we've heard a rumor that Skype won't be available at launch, but the previous talk suggested that the voice and video chat service would be available later.
The Thunderbolt is supposed to be the very first LTE offering from Big Red. Here's the wording of the internal email discussing the decision to not offer Skype on the Thunderbolt's launch:
Subject: *INFO* ThunderBolt by HTC - Training Documents
The ThunderBolt by HTC trainings have been updated and replaced in InfoCenter.
The Skype Mobile with Video references have been removed.
Geek.com surmises that the problem could be due to Skype's failure to fully incorporate QIK into their base software, but adds an interesting twist on the device itself. Evidently the Thunderbolt is not a true 4G LTE device after all. It runs on Verizon's new LTE network all right... for data. Phone calls will still be carried on its existing CDMA network.
This explains a story we covered a week ago that left me scratching my head: the LG Revolution would be the first Verizon phone to handle simultaneous LTE voice and data. If the Thunderbolt doesn't do LTE voice, that explains how it could be Verizon's first "LTE device" yet not be able to perform Voice over LTE, or VoLTE. (Don't worry, VoLTE won't be available until next year, anyway.)
And there you have it: no Skype Mobile with video. Whether the smartphone will be pre-loaded with regular Skype bloatware has not been determined. Fortunately, tonight's rumor didn't involve yet another new launch date. No, if you want another delayed launch rumor we haven't reported yet, we've got this one: Best Buy won't be launching it next week after all due to "production problems."
Haven't I beaten up on HTC enough for one day?