updated 06:05 pm EDT, Sun June 8, 2008
BlackBerry Thunder Shot
Research in Motion's BlackBerry Thunder has been spotted in an official product shot obtained Sunday by BGR. The image confirms reports of the device being the first touchscreen smartphone from RIM but suggests the device will keep the distinctive BlackBerry keys: aside from the calling and menu buttons, it will also have left- and right-side shortcuts. RIM has dropped the trackball and expects users to scroll with their fingers, but includes a new lock button and a completely new play/pause button, suggesting the phone will have a full-sized headphone jack for playing music and videos.
The shot also purportedly validates beliefs that the Thunder will launch as a Verizon exclusive and by extension implies that other features will be accurate. In past leaks, the new touch BlackBerry has been rumored as launching solely on Verizon and Vodafone and coming with a hybrid CDMA/GSM connection that includes not only 280Mbps Ultra Mobile Broadband for EVDO networks but also HSPA for Vodafone and when roaming on many international carriers.
If accurate, those same reports would have the Thunder launch as soon as the summer and immediately put the phone in competition with the expected 3G iPhone. RIM is already planning to officially launch the BlackBerry Bold in the next few weeks, though the device is more conventional with a QWERTY keyboard and more limited HSDPA-based 3G cellular data.