Mystery phone ID'd as HTC Passion, hitting Verizon within months?

Remember the mysterious HTC smartphone that showed up this time last week, and that we all assumed was the upcoming Snapdragon-based HTC Dragon?  Well, the source of those images, TheUnlockr, has decided it's the Dragon too, or to be more exact Verizon's version of the handset, the HTC Passion.  He's claiming 90-percent certainty on the ID, and if so you could be seeing this Android smartphone on shelves by the end of the year.

The Passion (aka the CDMA Dragon) is expected to be the Android version of the HTC HD2, which basically adds up to a huge capacitive touchscreen – the HD2 uses a 4.3-inch panel – together with all the wireless connectivity you could hope for an a 1GHz processor.  The touch-sensitive buttons beneath the touchscreen on the Passion certainly look like those on Verizon's other upcoming Android handsets, such as the Motorola Droid, and the white notification bar is similar too.

Personally, if this turns out to be the Passion and not the GSM Dragon then I'll be delighted, as appearance-wise this is a particularly dull looking handset.  As happened in the transition from the distinctive GSM Hero to the somewhat tamer Sprint CDMA version, it seems CDMA HTC devices are destined to be far more sober than their GSM counterparts.  HTC have already confirmed that the Hero isn't the last we'll see of the Android "chin", so I'm hoping the HTC Dragon has an equally distinctive, polarizing look.