Earlier this month, Taiwanese handset manufacturer HTC unveiled three new high-end 4G smartphones at the CES 2011 show in Las Vegas. With the introduction of the HTC EVO Shift 4G from Sprint, HTC Inspire 4G (pictured below) from AT&T and HTC ThunderBolt from Verizon Wireless, HTC is showing its position as the leader in ultra-fast connectivity.

HTC’s boss Peter Chou was quoted saying the following at the unveiling:

HTC offers a diverse portfolio of devices that are designed to not only perform at 4G wireless speeds, but to put each of our customers at the center with the HTC Sense experience, which truly brings the power of broadband wireless to life.

Whether people are looking for large-screen multi-media, consumer social media, touch or QWERTY 4G devices, HTC has a device that fits their needs.

AT CES 2011, Sprint announced the HTC EVO Shift 4G, another WiMAX 2.5?2.6 GHz follow on to the 2008 HTC EVO. The Shift 4G’s compact design runs a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and Android 2.2 software.

It also has HTC’s Sense user interface and a full QWERTY keyboard. The Shift 4G sports a five-megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture, an HTML browser, WiFi, a microSD card slot, messaging and email, stereo Bluetooth, the usual Android apps, a music player, and a 800MHz Qualcomm MSM7630 processor.

At $149.99, the Shift 4G is available on Sprint from January 9 with a new two-year contract and accompanying data plan. If you’re in the market for your first 4G handset, this could be a good choice.

The HTC Inspire 4G, shown on the right, is designed to take advantage of AT&T’s new HSPA+ network. This Android 2.2 phone packs in a huge 4.3-inch S-LCD capacitive display with 480×800 pixel resolution and is driven by a 1GHz Snapdragon processor.

The Inspire 4G also has an eight-megapixel camera with dual LED flash and 720p video recording, an accelerometer, compass and comes with 4GB of built-in storage, expandable to 32GB with a microSD card. At this time, AT&T is not announcing pricing or availability for the HTC Inspire 4G.

The HTC ThunderBolt from Verizon Wireless runs on their CDMA protocol at 800 and 1900 MHz as well as LTE on 700 MHz, thanks to a Gobi-enabled LTE modem.

Earlier this morning, we learned that the ThunderBolt could be the first 4G LTE phone to simultaneously rock voice and data on the Verizon network by using both the 1xEV-DO rev A protocol and LTE for data.

The HTC ThunderBolt is a candy bar design like the Inspire 4G and has similar specification: a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, eight-megapixel camera with dual LED flash, 720p video recording, in addition to accelerometer and compass sensors.

It too runs Android 2.2 and features a huge 4.3-inch S-LCD capacitive touchscreen sporting a 480×800 pixel resolution. The phone ships with 4GB of built-in storage expandable to 32GB via a microSD card.

Verizon confirmed that the HTC Thunderbolt will support Skype connectivity on their network, ushering in a new era of face-to-face mobile communication, according to their 4G launch lineup announcement.

The Thunderbolt uses Qualcomm’s LTE chipset, confirmed their executive vice president Steve Mollenkopf:

Qualcomm is providing chipsets that can switch seamlessly between 3G and the next generation LTE networks that are coming on line. Our chipset roadmap enables innovative companies such as HTC to lead the charge, and we are very pleased to work with them.

At this time, Verizon is not announcing pricing or availability for the HTC ThunderBolt. BSN is looking forward to testing these new 4G smartphones. A handy specs comparison chart is available over at Esato.com.


HTC Inspire 4G (left), ThunderBolt (middle) and Evo Shift 4G (right).