Amazon.com’s wireless unit is selling the HTC Thunderbolt Android smartphone for $129.99, or nearly half off the $249.99 retail price Verizon Wireless began selling the 4G handset for in March.
The catch is that interested buyers have until midnight PDT Monday, April 25, to buy the device at that price, and must agree to a two-year contract.
Updated: This offer, available from the AmazonWireless Website, includes new customers only. Existing customers who want to upgrade from their phone will pay $199.99 for the Thunderbolt.
The deal is clearly designed to lure more wireless subscribers after Verizon just added 906,000 new wireless customers for its recently closed first quarter.
Verizon said it sold some 260,000 Thunderbolts since its launch March 17, making the device a popular choice among consumers.
However, Verizon also sold 2 million iPhone 4s, and it’s likely some of those sales impeded the Thunderbolt momentum. Selling the Thunderbolt at nearly half price could help the device make up some of the ground this weekend.
As Verizon’s first 4G smartphone, the Thunderbolt is the fastest smartphone eWEEK has ever had its hands on.
The device, powered by the Android 2.2 operating system, features a 4.3-inch, touch-screen WVGA display with 480 by 800 resolution.
It’s a bit heavier than the typical smartphone-6.2 ounces-to accommodate the larger battery required to handle the demands of Verizon’s speedy 4G LTE network, which drives data at speed of up to 10 times faster than its 3G network.
The 8-megapixel camera yielded crisp, clean photos, and video recorded well in HD 720p. The 1.3MP front-facing camera enabled solid video chat. Frankly, for $129.99 the Thunderbolt is a steal for consumers looking to buy a new phone and plan.
At that price, it might even be worth it for some folks who dislike their current Android gadget, BlackBerry handset or iPhone to consider breaking their contract.
This isn’t the first time Verizon has priced its phones to sell on AmazonWireless. The company in November tried to move its existing Android and BlackBerry devices by selling them for a penny via its e-commerce partner.