HTC Thunderbolt 4G Smartphone for Verizon Wireless Arriving at 2011 CES?

Leaked images of an HTC Android smartphone are thought to be the Thunderbolt, one of six 4G-enabled phones Verizon Wireless will introduce at CES.

When Verizon Wireless CEO Ivan Seidenberg takes the stage at Consumer Electronics Show Jan. 6, will there be any surprises left?

On Dec. 28, tech blog Droid Life leaked a dozen images of an Android-running HTC smartphone, said to be the Thunderbolt, and one of the half-dozen 4G-enabled devices that Seidenberg, who is scheduled to deliver an 8:30 a.m. (PST) keynote address, is expected to introduce.

Looking a lot like Sprint's HTC Evo 4G, the Thunderbolt appears to feature a 4.3-inch touch screen, front and rear-facing cameras, and Google and Verizon branding.

HTC, for its part, is hinting big-time at another 4G phone. Earlier this month, the company's Website began bragging that it was set to be the first to 4G, again, showing of an image of a squarish smartphone under a black drape. Clearing up any uncertainty about when the veil would lift, a button beneath the image pointing visitors to a page where they could sign up for an alert when the news goes live is labeled, "Find out January 6."

The Thunderbolt, or some HTC smartphone, at any rate, is expected to be joined on stage by a Motorola 4G device. Prior to Christmas, Verizon COO John Stratton told the Wall Street Journal that Motorola will be right there when it comes time for Verizon to introduce its new phones.

The new phones will enable consumers to take advantage of Verizon's new 4G network, based on LTE (long-term evolution) technology. The third of the fourth major U.S. carriers to launch a 4G network, Verizon flipped the switch on Dec. 5, offering coverage to 38 cities and 60 airports. At the time of its LTE launch, it introduced two USB modems the LG Electronics VL600 and the Pantech UML290 leaving the introduction of smartphones for another day.

Finally, also known about Verizon's Jan. 6 announcement is that lots of Android will be involved. In a Dec. 20 Tweet from the carriers official site, it teased: "Jan 6 at #CES: #Android and #LTE - could it be like peanut butter and chocolate? YUM!"

No doubt, Verizon and Google will be hoping for such a winning combination. Though what the audience may also be hoping for during Seidenberg's address is the announcement that the nation's largest carrier will soon be offering an Apple iPhone. Though a number of media outlets, from The New York Times to the Wall Street Journal and Fortune, have all confirmed that such a device is coming, Verizon and Apple have remained consistent in their position and remained entirely tight-lipped on the matter.

Offering what little counts for newsmaking on the topic, Seidenberg told the media at an April 6 press conference, giving hope to Verizon subscribers and everyone frustrated by AT&Ts service, "It's [Apple's] call. ... Eventually it's our view well get to carrying Apple."