thunder 260x174 Dell Thunder Prototypes Surface, Get The Preview TreatmentTwo pre-release Dell Thunder handsets made their way into the hands of the team at Engadget yesterday, where they proceeded to prod and poke to give us a clear idea of what to expect from Dell’s Android-powered smartphone.

Sharing both photos and a detailed hands-on video, Engadget managed to obtain information that leads them to believe the phone will feature global HSPA, AWS and possibly support CDMA, suggesting the phone could be making its way to T-Mobile but also Verizon if inbuilt references to the format do become a reality.

Both handsets were prototypes dated back to April, labelled with EVT1 (Engineering Verification Test) with one device featuring an Android 1.6 build and the other Android 2.1, there were also a distinct lack of custom UI or additional tweaks to the firmware.

The hardware specification of the Dell Thunder was quite impressive, but again lacking in some aspects due to the prototype nature of the devices. One prototype unit packed a 800 x 480 pixel resolution, the other 1,280 x 768 pixels with both appearing to sport LCD screens which degraded in quality when viewed from various angles. Dell’s testing apps suggest that retail units will ship with OLED screens but that remains to be seen.

The handset also includes a micro-USB port, a 1,400mAh battery, 3.5mm headset jack and a microSD memory card slot. It will incorporate an 8-megapixel camera with a single-LED flash. A 1GHz Snapdragon QSM8250 CPU powers the Thunder, a chip that can be found in Google’s Nexus One smartphone and is thought to pack in 512MB RAM.

The Dell Thunder looks like it will be a serious contender to today’s smartphones with its fast processor, large amount of memory and high quality camera. We now await the official confirmation from Dell and further details on release date, pricing and availability. We could be waiting some time.