updated 08:45 am EDT, Wed July 16, 2008
BBerry Thunder for October
The BlackBerry Thunder is now considered Research in Motion's top priority, if a claim sent to BGR proves true. The Canadian company is said to be putting even the imminent BlackBerry Bold lower on its priority list to ensure that the touchscreen Thunder is ready for a "huge" US marketing effort starting in September, with a release for the exclusive carrier Verizon in mid-October.
The emphasis would reflect an increasing change of heart for RIM, which has often insisted that physical keyboards are better than touchscreens but has itself acknowledged that it would explore other formats beyond its preferred QWERTY and SureType keyboards. It's unclear whether the stepped up schedule for the Thunder is partly due to pressure from Apple's iPhone 3G, which will have a three-month lead on the current schedule.
The Bold itself is now said to be delayed until September for most carriers and is hardware complete but still running on rough software that doesn't properly handle radio codes. A previously released July release for Rogers is now less likely, while it also remains unknown whether AT&T's August release will keep to its schedule given the rough state of the software.