Verizon CTO: 'working through issues' with LTE phones, still on track for first half launch

No blockbusters here -- nothing that's going to give you much insight into an exact launch day for the Thunderbolt -- but Verizon CTO Tony Melone made a few comments about its LTE handset launches at a financial conference yesterday that border on the interesting. Asked whether the company was facing any challenges in getting the phones solid and ready for commercial consumption, Melone responded by saying that they're "facing is what you would expect, and that is a new technology, you are working through issues. And [they] anticipated that, and [they] are pleased at how [they] are working through issues." In the same breath, he reminded the audience that Verizon had said the phones would be coming in the first half of '11 all along and that hasn't changed -- so they're not late by a long shot. Pressed on whether battery life specifically was a concern for the Thunderbolt, Melone said that he thinks the juice "will be acceptable to consumers." Considering what we've been hearing about recent firmware revisions on the test units, we're hopeful he's right -- Verizon has a reputation for testing the crap out of devices prior to release, after all.