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Verizon may call down HTC Thunderbolt at Jan. 6 event

HTC and Verizon appear set to unveil the carrier's first 4G handset at CES. The phone will mark its third 4G "first" for a carrier.

Verizon calls on HTC to deliver another 4G first. Gizmodo

When Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg take the stage January 6 for a CES keynote, it's expected that he'll show off a broad range of LTE products and services. Both the dual-core LG smarpthone and the Motorola Honeycomb tablet should make an appearance, and we also look for the 4G LTE-ready HTC Thunderbolt.

Previously known by other code names (Mecha and Droid Incredible HD), the Thunderbolt will be the third 4G "first" from the manufacturer, following the Evo 4G (Sprint's first 4G phone) and the G2 (T-Mobile's first 4G handset). The Thunderbolt moniker makes sense as it conjures up imagery of Verizon's recent 4G LTE commercials, which show a guy harnessing a lightning bolt much like Zeus would. What's more, it would fall right in line with the carrier's new "Rule the Air" campaign.

After making its initial appearance all the way back in August, the Thunderbolt hasn't remained the best kept secret. Normally a company might scramble to release the device or make an official announcement ahead of any leaks--too many leaks and rumors can lessen a device's impact--but it's possible that HTC has a different game plan for this smartphone.

HTC itself appears to have leaked images of the device to various outlets, including AndroidCentral, Engadget, PhoneDog, and SlashGear. Each received different close-up photos of the device, teasing an overall bigger picture.

Recently, Gizmodo was the first to post a picture of the phone running the Sense UI with a 4G LTE icon in the notification bar. The Thunderbolt is expected to feature a 4.3-inch touch screen, an 8-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash, and a front-facing camera. Other rumored details include a kickstand (think EVO 4G), microSD card, and a 1GHz processor similar to the Desire HD and T-Mobile MyTouch 4G.

In any case, check back January 6 to see what happens in Las vegas.