Five Reasons Why a Touch Screen BlackBerry Would Be Great for RIM--And Four It Could Be a Big Mistake

Love the Idea or Hate the Idea of a Touch Screen BlackBerry?
By Al Sacco on 27 May 2008 02:01 am EDT
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Speculation over a possible touch screen BlackBerry from Research In Motion (RIM) has been bouncing around the Web for years.  Smartphones and PDAs from Palm, one of RIM's biggest rivals, all had touch screens in the past, and the feature was one of the major differentiators between BlackBerrys and Treos.  If you preferred touch screens, you probably went with a Palm Pilot, Treo or a Windows Mobile device; if you wanted the best QWERTY keyboard available, you likely invested in a BlackBerry. As such, it always seemed like a distinct possibility that RIM might try to one up Palm and others by offering a touch screen device of its own.

But the rumors have really picked up--and seemingly gained traction --over the past year following Apple's introduction of the iPhone.  Various images of the purported RIM device have surfaced—some clearly fake, others less-obviously Photoshopped. Mike Lazaridis, RIM's co-CEO, recently admitted that his company is working on some "very interesting" user-interface technologies and won't confirm or deny the touch screen rumors. And both The Wall Street Journal and Fortune recently said a BlackBerry touch, dubbed "Thunder," is indeed in the works.

I've put a lot of thought into the idea of a touch screen BlackBerry, but have never been able to decide whether or not I really want to see one hit the market.  There's just so much that weighs in the balance, and it's unclear to me whether or not the benefits outnumber the risks. What follows are five reasons why I can't wait to get my hands on touch screen BlackBerry—and four reasons it might be better for RIM if I never do. Click Here for the details.

Why a Touch Screen BlackBerry Would Be Good for RIM

5) Design: A Change Has Gotta Come

Though the BlackBerry Bold is certainly a big step in the right direction, RIM really needs to step up the design of its smartphones: A change has gotta come.  I'm not saying its recent 8000 series devices aren't easy on the eye—my Curve 8320 is rather sexy, if I don't say so myself—but with the exception of a slimmed down profile and shinier colored cases, the devices look remarkably similar to smartphones RIM released years ago. The same is true for the Bold. And that's not a good thing, especially with all the competition out there making product design and device appearance a priority.

The introduction of a touch screen BlackBerry would force RIM to drastically modify the look of the device.  Even if it retained the trackball, menu, escape and call/end-call buttons--which it very likely would--a BlackBerry with a touch screen would look like only a distant relative and not a sibling of existing RIM smartphones.  Such design tweaks would draw more attention and entice a greater number of users to give the device a test drive, and eventually, buy one.

4)  Quality Touch Screen + Enhanced Music/Video Player = BlackBerry Multimedia Machine

Let's face it, the BlackBerry's current multimedia capabilities aren't exact up to snuff.  The default media player is in desperate need of an upgrade—Lazaridis even uses a third-party media app.  It's worth nothing that the media player is relatively new to BlackBerrys, but it really shows: The lack of a quality multimedia player is one of BlackBerry's most obvious weaknesses.

On the other hand, the iPhone's biggest strength is its media player, an evolution of the uber popular iPod.  What makes the iPhone a true multimedia machine is the combination of that iPod interface/experience and a quality touch screen. 

With RIM targeting an increasingly consumer audience—think Pearl, Curve and even Bold, and suddenly ubiquitous advertising—the company's got to be planning a major multimedia makeover.  A vastly improved media player paired with an effective touch screen would really give the BlackBerry inroads into the consumer market.  And such a move would, in effect, be the equivalent of Apple's recent iPhone Exchange Server announcement, which marked the iPhone maker's first charge into the corporate market and onto RIM's territory.

If RIM wants to compete with Apple in the cut-throat consumer smartphone space, it's really going to have to step up its multimedia game. An enhanced media player coupled with a quality touch screen would surely take a bite out of Apple's market share.

3) Variety Is Good. Very Good.

The current variety of BlackBerry devices available to users is one of things that make RIM's device lineup so strong and its customer base so loyal—it's also one of the reasons the iPhone is no BlackBerry.  A touch screen device from RIM would be a very welcome addition to the BlackBerry family, at least from a product diversity standpoint.

A wider selection of quality BlackBerry devices on the market means RIM can to cater to new and different users, and its customer base will grow larger and stronger.  RIM could finally draw some of those stubborn Treo and Windows Mobile businesspeople who haven't yet left the dark side for greener smartphone pastures, due to the BlackBerry's lack of a touch screen.   And a greater number of the "look at me, I've got the coolest device on the block" folk—yeah, you know the type—that Apple holds so dear will be sure to come along as well.

2) Grow User Base While Securing Place as Enterprise Smartphone King: Priceless

The introduction of a touch screen BlackBerry by RIM would be seen by most as a clear play at the vast consumer masses.  Of course, it would be just that, as corporate users really aren't the ones calling for a touch screen BlackBerry. (How many times have you heard a business user say, "Gee, I really hate this BlackBerry keyboard. I need a touch screen." Not too many, I'd bet…)  And RIM would surely draw more consumer users and broaden its customer base in that market with a touch screen BlackBerry.

But such a device would also help RIM secure its title as King of the Corporate Smartphone Space, because it would help the company regain the attention of all the executives and business folks who've suddenly become interested in the iPhone.  Ask any CIO or IT executive what's most important to them when it comes to smartphones and nine times out of 10 you'll get the same answer: Security, security, security.  (Trust me, as a writer for CIO.com, I ask tech execs that question very often.) 

The BlackBerry is a security machine.  It's designed from the ground up with security in mind.  Every BlackBerry RIM releases can be connected to a BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), which gives organizations the ability to monitor, remotely change IT policies, disable features and even wipe the device clean on the fly.  Without question, BlackBerrys are the most secure smartphones on the market.

So if a CEO or other high-level executives demands a touch screen device for whatever reason, and IT has the choice of deploying an iPhone or a touch screen BlackBerry, which do you think they'll pick?  BlackBerry every time.

1) What a Wonderful Device It Could Be

RIM knows what it's doing when it comes to smartphones, and it's not going to release a device that doesn't meet its current standards of excellence.  That's largely why it took so long for the Bold to be unveiled.  Mike Lazaridis recently said that device was "three years in the making," and there's no doubt in my mind that RIM's been dabbling in touch screen tech for just as long—perhaps even longer.

I can't help but get all hyped up imagining what RIM's team of talented designers and engineers could do with touch screen technology and an associated user interface.  The iPhone has garnered so much attention from users, the media and device manufacturers because Apple was first to come up with a touch screen and user interface that's both functional and easy to use.  But who's to say RIM won't be next?

It's true, many BlackBerry users would steer clear of a touch screen device because they prefer a QWERTY keyboard, but what if RIM's touch BlackBerry had both RIM's trusty keyboard and a touch screen that's comparable to the iPhone's?  Most reports about a touch screen BlackBerry seem to imply that it's an either or situation, but I don't think that's the case.  I'm not a big fan of the current crop of slider smartphones with both QWERTY keyboards and touch screens—I use a T-Mobile Wing in addition to my various BlackBerrys—but I'd sure love to see RIM's take on the concept.  And I guarantee that RIM's not doing away with the QWERTY keyboard anytime soon, so users who dislike touch screens will continue to have options: like the Bold.

Why a Touch Screen BlackBerry's a Bad Idea

4) Could Put a Dent in Wallets, Corporate Coffers

Traditionally, touch screen devices have been more expensive than devices with physical keyboards, even with carrier subsidies.  That's for good reason, as the hardware components with a touch screen device are typically more costly than those used to make QWERTY keyboards like the ones found on BlackBerrys.

Take the iPhone and Palm's Treo 750. Initially, the 8GB iPhone went for $599 with new contract; the 4GB version was $499; and Treo 750 first sold for a minimum of $400.  That's more expensive than the initial price of any BlackBerry device I've ever seen.  The Bold is currently expected (hopefully!) to sell for $300 from AT&T and $350 from T-Mobile.

You can bet a touch screen device from RIM would set the record for most expensive BlackBerry.  A BlackBerry touch would be a specialized device for a specific set of users and it would bear the steep pricing tag accordingly.

I don't know about you, but $400 is where I draw the line on how much scratch I'll dish out for a smartphone.  I just can't pay any more than four bills, knowing that the price will be cut in half in six months—or even sooner if a newer device is released.  Should a touch screen BlackBerry hit the market, there's no doubt in my mind that there will be plenty of people willing to pay even more than $400 to get their mitts on it. But I also think a percentage of users or companies who either aren't willing, or can't afford, to pay so much for a device will be left out in the cold.  And that's really not good business.

3) Headaches for IT Departments

Business users are RIM's bread and butter, and it would be wise for the company to always remember that.  There may be significantly more consumers out there who could become potential BlackBerry users, and RIM would no doubt love to draw as many of them as possible, but enterprises and their employees are the ones who boosted RIM to its current elite status. And RIM has been successful in the corporate market not only because of its reliable and secure devices, but also due to fact that it makes smartphone deployment as easy as possible for IT departments.

Though corporate IT would probably rather support a touch screen BlackBerry than an iPhone due to the secure BlackBerry infrastructure available to them—as mentioned above—a touch screen RIM smartphone may be still seen by some as just another new headache to deal with.  It's difficult to speculate on what new IT complications a touch screen BlackBerry could bring, but here are a few possibilities:

  • A touch screen BlackBerry would require a revamped operating system, and that means IT would need to learn and support a different OS for touch screen users than non-screen staffers

  • It would no doubt have a larger display than its siblings with physical keyboard, and that display could be more susceptible to damage due to the increased size.  If that display is the sole means of text input, minor scratches or cracks could become major issues.

  • It would presumably be largely composed of glass—at least on its face, like the iPhone—and such a face would be more likely to break when dropped or banged about.  Business users aren't always as careful as they could be with corporate devices because they didn't spend their own hard-earned cash on them, so it's very important those devices be able to take a beating.

  • A touch screen BlackBerry would very likely be more expensive than comparable smartphones, as stated above, so IT departments may want to avoid such a device from the start.  The initial price coupled with the fact that replacing a broken device would be costly may be enough for IT to decide against touch screen BlackBerry deployment, except in cases where executives or other high-level managers request/demand the device.

 
2) It's a Failure Unless It's Better Than the iPhone

You've got to give credit where credit is due, and Apple certainly deserves some for being the first company to create a smartphone with a touch screen that's intuitive, easy to use, functional, and perhaps more important, does not require a stylus.  That's no small feat: Other gadget manufacturers like Palm, HTC and Sony Ericsson have been trying to do so for years, to no avail.

But Apple's success has left some mighty large shoes to fill.   Following the iPhone's release last June, most of the major handset makers have released or unveiled their "iPhone rivals" but none has stolen even a fraction of Apple's spotlight for the simple reason that they really don't work as well as the iPhone. In reality, any company that wishes to give the iPhone's touch screen a run for its money will need to come up with a touch display and user interface that’s not just comparable to the iPhone's, but that's better.  And not only will it need to be better, but it will also need to be significantly different.  Bloggers and other tech pundits, including the good fellahs over at TheiPhoneBlog.com, are already claiming the BlackBerry Bold was inspired by the iPhone even though the devices share no similarities beyond rounded edges and a silver frame.  (Come on guys, you can do better than that…)

A touch screen BlackBerry would be branded an iPhone copy-cat immediately upon release, and the only way it could prove the haters wrong would be if the device was truly superior—or at least uniquely different—than Apple's device.  I've got lots of faith in RIM—I'm a gen-u-ine CrackBerry addict—but releasing a device with a better touch-screen-based interface than the iPhone would be real tough.  And if that device is lauded by the masses as inferior to the iPhone, RIM's image, and therein, its business, would be dealt a serious blow.

 

1) Anything That Threatens RIM's Strong Brand Image Is a BIG No-No

RIM is one of the strongest brands in the world of technology.  In fact, BusinessWeek just named the BlackBerry-maker number three on its Info Tech 100 list for 2008.  Obviously, anything that could jeopardize that brand and its image should be viewed very carefully. I think the introduction of a touch screen BlackBerry could distort RIM's current image as a business device maker that also offers a consumer-oriented device or two.  And it could also diffuse the strength of the company's image as the maker of QWERTY keyboard smartphones.

Here's why: Currently, RIM is seen as a company that makes business smartphones.  And that's a good thing because there's a belief that business gadgets are stronger, more powerful, more reliable, etc., than consumer devices because people rely on them to do their jobs.  This may not be true in all cases, but the connotation is there, and it works in RIM's favor.  While I don't believe that RIM will ever offer a touch screen device without offering a sibling with a QWERTY keyboard—an 9100 and a 9300, for example—its success with a touch screen BlackBerry could become a sort of "Catch 22" for the company, in that if it is able to create a touch device to rival the iPhone, public attention will be drawn away from its QWERTY keyboard devices, which are currently strongly associated with RIM and the BlackBerry brand.

Today, a technology layman (read: non-tech-savvy consumer) who sees someone on the street toting a handheld with a full QWERTY keyboard will often refer to that device as a BlackBerry, even though it could be a Moto Q, Treo or Nokia device. Much like someone in Kinko's might say they need to "Xerox" a document even though he simply wants copies and couldn't care less if they come from a Xerox or Canon machine. RIM's keyboard is "iconic" in the words of Mike Lazaridis, because of the strong association between it and the company's reliable handhelds.  Apple is well on the way to associating touch screen devices with the name "iPhone," as well, even though touch screen handhelds have been around for years—Apple even marketed a separate touch screen device called the Newton in the 90s, but it never took off.  In that vein, the same technology layman who called devices with QWERTY keyboard "BlackBerrys" may refer to as any handheld with a full-face touch screen an "iPhone," because of Apple's success and clever marketing.

The fact that a touch screen BlackBerry could take away from RIM's current image as a maker of business devices and the potential brand confusion that may come from offering a device without its "iconic" keyboard, could prove to be a detrimental combination for RIM in the long run, even if its short-term sales see a boost.

So there you have it, my reasons why I think a touch screen BlackBerry's a good thing and why it's not.  I'm very curious to hear all of your opinions.  What are some additional reasons RIM should or shouldn't release a touch screen BlackBerry?

I'm all ears…

AS

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Reader comments

Five Reasons Why a Touch Screen BlackBerry Would Be Great for RIM--And Four It Could Be a Big Mistake

34 Comments

Frankly stated, it is quite true that blackberry has becoming a boom for regular consumers. I am a college student myself and ever since I got my blackberry in early January, I have seen several more people having a blackberry as well. It is definitely becoming big in the consumer market. However, I really don't think having a touch screen will take away from the "iconic" QWERTY keys that blackberry has had since the beginning. I mean, it's not like you walk down the street with a palm treo in hand and someone's going to comment, "ooh a blackberry." Furthermore, an iphone's image should probably at this point be imprinted in everyone's brain so much that if they see a little black top with a silver curve bottom, it must be the iphone. A simple physical change can make a whole difference. All in all, I welcome a touchscreen!

I really have to agree with the article's #2 and #1 on why it would be bad if they made a Touchscreen BB.

If it doesn't do any better than iPhone, it's a disgrace and would tarnish RIM's image, not kill it, but put a dent in it.

Also, going off beat from the trademark/flagship design of a Blackberry is risking brand image. It could be seen as a desperate call to compete with Apple's iPhone.

If RIM could expand the BB in other ways than a touchscreen they can still compete with the iPhone. If they broaden their OS, design of the phone like they did with the Bold and features inside the phone.

You can debate all day long on the touch screen. I have said it before (including Steve Jobs), it's all about the software. I believe apple's software is one of the reasons why the iphone has been so popular. I am a blackberry user, but I have to admit Apple's software on the iphone is exiting to use.

A touch screen is fine with me if it has the same features and function as the keyboard models. I have to stay with VZ and so a Bold or Storm either one will work for me if the features stay the same as the Bold. I think that the addition of the touch screen will help keep BB able to compete with the younger and upcoming markets.

Wow...Plain and simple...touchscreen is not for me. Some people would die for one, bur after using a touch screen phone, I am far from impressed. To me, the Pearl Idea is revolutionary...I love it! Simple and comparable to using a mouse...why would you not want it? Anyway, just my opinion!

I have been using (and loving) Blackberry devices and currently have the 8120. Recently I bought an iTouch and have been greatly impressed. The BB and the iTouch offer entirely different feature sets, software, etc.. If RIMM were to produce a device that merged the 2 feature sets it would leave all others in the dust!

Take the same form factor as the bold and curve and make the screen touch. BB are very reliable devices and thats what makes them great. I'm a former treo user and do kinda miss the touch screen a little. The one thing i dont is having to soft/hard reset multiple times and daily and that is why i migrated to BB curve. THey are great annd work well and i think if rim could just add the same size touch screen it would work just as well for them.

What about battery life? Won't the driving of a touchscreen display force the BB to take a hit on battery life? They are very gentle on the battery as is and I wouldn't want to change that just to have a touchscreen. Their interface is very usable right now and I don't see the necessity to change...

Look guys these are one persons feelings and they arent shared by anyone but him i mean to say if it dosent beat the iphone its a failure thats all i needed to hear thats just moronic because verizon has a touch screen do you think there saying if it dosent beat the iphone were in trouble no way and second the bb software does need a huge revamp i mean they update it but it looks the same every time all we say is it functions better, come on people this comparison just lost me huge time.

I will NEVER use a touchscreen BB device!!! It would remind me too much of an iphone, and I despise anything made by Crapple!!! I'll stick with the good ole reliabe QWERTY.

I don't know. Blackberry rather touchscreen or not is still an elite device. I believe that the touchscreen for some would be an added comfort. Most of us would be completely lost without them. Either way, I am a BB lifer.

I would have to say that one of the main reasons we went with BB is the keyboard. Touch screens drive me and anyone who travels nuts. As long as the keyboard is there I am and always be a BB user....

I do agree that variety is a key reason brand loyalty exists in the marketplace.

The perfect phone is the Curve with a touchscreen. Just like Treo.
I want real keys on a real qwerty keypad. I dumped two iPhones already due to a bad touchscreen and reception.

If the Curve had a touchscreen along with the trackball, it would be by far the best user interface in existence!

experience a RIM device with a slide out keyboard, than one with just a touchscreen. That way i could do both. There are those who really like "typing" with a touchscreen. I am not one of them. I want my RIM qwerty. Would love a slide qwerty those are most confortable to me.
I think the curve could use a touhscreen option. Same design and all, just with touchable screen icons maybe. But im not ready to jump on the iphone touchscreen RIM just yet. I just don't understand why some feel like RIM needs this. It seems to me that its base will remain, just as it has. Its already growing with the intro of the curve and pearl, as i suppose parents who could not afford to get the iphone went RIM for their young'uns.

I am a big fan of my Curve and RIM, but would give an arm and a leg for a BB with both a touch screen and slider QWERTY keyboard. The flexibility of both would be great. When I am working it would be used as it is now, but I also use my Curve for a variety of other things, like music player, games, browsing, texting, etc. Even the new app of making it a remote would be better served if it was a touch screen, like some have done with their remotes.

I am in favor of a Curve/iPhone blend!

I don't even understand why RIM released phones like the pearl and such, that don't have a real keyboard. They suck for email, which is RIM's strongest feature.

Why can't they release a phone that has both a keyboard and touchscreen? The little round joystick button sucks for web navigation, RIM can't touch the iPhone. So they could release a phone like the bold and just make the screen touch sensitive so you can use your finger for browsing and to use the UI, and use the keyboard only for typing - as it should be.

Curve size.

Touch screen with the 4 button on the front and 8700's scroll wheel on the right side.

Slide out full qwerty keyboard, tilt screen, with the track ball.

No thanks. I had a Treo for a couple of years and Palm PDA's for years before that and the touch screen is cool and can be useful. So maybe a hybrid like the Treo's setup would be good. I really like actual buttons (keyboard), so the full screen option wouldn't excite me. Everytime I've held an I phone I'm both amazed--and scared I'm going to scratch it or drop it. I need a phone/pda that does all I need it to do but that I can also drop into my pocket.

Kickstart anyone??????

Would there really be a point to make a "Touch Screen Blackberry" if it wasn't for the I-Phone ??? is RIM really trying to make a new device or just trying to compete with the I-Phone.....The BOLD will do that on its own........

I'd love to see one. Most of our business is built around services and software for the BlackBerry, and right now there are a few objections this would immediately help us overcome. First and foremost, signature capture. Clients would love to be able to key in an order and have the client sign, and while Bluetooth pens are an option, those who are legacy Palm users really want to be able to sign the screen. Additionally, if there were a touch screen, RIM could make a number pad on the screen with nice big numbers for those whose vision is not what it used to be 40 years ago.

The only reason against I can think of? You will loose any stylus that comes with the device....

NO #4: Could put a dent in wallets, Corporate coffers
Most long-time/hardcore/business BB users will definitely stay with QWERTY BB. It is because most of the time they need to reply an email quickly or drop down a short note on the run. Touch screen is not the best option for them to do such tasks. Please don't forget, having a touch screen BB available doesn't necessarily mean that every company in the world will start issuing their users with touch screen one and completely ignore the existence of QWERTY BB. They will only choose the best and/or cheapest option to get their work done. As long as the companies have total control on what type of BB their users will get, "dent in wallet" is minimal.

NO #3: Headaches for IT Departments
If your NO #4 wasn't always true, the IT Department should not worry about too much at this point. I am not sure why your article sounded like every IT staff would have to rush to get the touch screen BB right away like there is no tomorrow. Before deploying every new equipment to its end users, IT staff (ideally) will always test the product and offer some sort of training to the end users. Once again, touch screen BB is not practical for business users who heavily rely on QWERTY keypad to make throughout their days. Companies will always have their final word on what type of BB their users should get. Therefore, IT Depart. will evaluate the pros and cons before changing to another device form factor. And all of your NO #3 should have been considered in the planning and deployment stage. Without putting them into consideration before releasing a touch screen BB, their IT department should have been replaced or even fired in the first place.

NO #2: It's a failure unless it's Better than the iPhone
I have to completely disagree with your points. There are so many factors to make iPhone better (better? very subjective term) than its "copycats." Such as Apple’s brand recognition, best industry marketing team that Apple has, strong multimedia capability, and etc. I wouldn't think any of these devices that came out after iPhone are failure. All of these devices do serve their users well in their own ways. For instance, HTC's Touch, a very popular full touch screen WM pda that was released about the same time as iPhone. Touch's touchflo 3D interface was once criticized as the copycat of iPhone's UI. So? iPhone didn't make it a failure; so far, it has been sold for more than several millions worldwide. The enhanced version of Touch - Touch Diamond has been announced recently. In this industry, we need innovation. Although Apple once has set the standard so high for others to follow, it doesn't mean other manufacturers should be back out and not introduce any new products to the market. I'd say if RIM ever comes out with a touch screen BB, we should give them credit for making its first step into new direction of product development. Nobody at RIM will really know how the market will react to its first touch screen BB if it never got released. Getting first time right is not so practical in any industries these days. One step a time, especially if you are the new guy on the street.

NO #1: Anything that threatens RIM’s Strong Brand Image is a Big No-No
RIM is not that popular everywhere in the world, especially in APAC due to Blackberry’s high service cost and its very subjective looking form factor. How many users in India, my friend? Less than 100,000, FYI. Should RIM just give up all the troubles of dealing with India’s DOT and abandon the whole market there? The answer is no. RIM sees its potential, not only business user there but also the increasingly large consumer market base. The reason that RIM got huge sales and market share boost in the recent years is because of the introduction of Pearl, Curve, and soon-to-be-released Bold, but not their traditional line of BB (87xx and 88xx). Many of the new users chose BB simply because of its strong messaging hardware platform as well as its multimedia capabilities (camera, media player, GPS, Wi-Fi.) There are always some degrees of risk for doing business in any industry. We all know windows OS dominate 90% of the market. Should M$ just be happy and let others catch up and pass them? No. (Although Vista is not any better than XP in many ways, but at least they tried.) RIM was once viewed as a very conservative/traditional type of company that makes unattractive messaging devices. I am dared to say no teenage will ever consider a BB before RIM introduced the Pearl line couple years ago. Should have RIM’s management ever considered all the risks of releasing a totally new product line several years ago? I think the answer is definitely a yes. No pay, no gain! If RIM was so chicken several years ago, they wouldn’t be they are now for sure.

I've used some friends of ours I-Phone, and to me the way the phone interfaces with the user is a great idea, but it doesn't work for me because my fingertips are too big.
I like the idea of the mouse ball ala Pearl. That works for me and my wife.
Rim might have a good idea with the touch screen model, but only if they want to offer something for every taste.

I agree with all comments. I think a Curve with a touch screen would be a killer device!
I also think you can't ignore goolephone when you discuss RIM's need to be competitive in the commercial and business market now and into the future!

A Curve with a Touch screen (or a slide-out keyboard)? A killer phone! A full touch screen (like the iPhone) reminds me of the XDA II days... things gets jumpy when you need to act fast, like when you have to get the message on the air ASAP!

honestly i dont think i would have gotten my curve if it had a touch screen... why mess with a good thing... i love it cause its proven to work... if i get another phone call from my dad cause his palm dialed my number through his touch screen in his pocket im going to kill him... touch screens are a nice gimic and all but really who cares

I don't get what took so long for the Bold. I mean, REALLY, it's just a Curve with a higher res screen and a re-styled exterior casing. There's nothing revolutionary about a Bold, merely evolutionary.

Now, a touch screen device (aka "Thunder"???) COULD be revolutionary for RIM. Being able to use it portrait mode aka Pearl (sans keys but with touch) or flip it horizontal to use it landscape (with RIM's take on slide out full QWERTY) has the chance to revolutionize the Blackberry nation. ESPECIALLY if offered both with and not with camera, so that one device can meet both the consumer AND corporate need. There's a LOT of people still hanging on to 7xxx full QWERTY devices because 88xx keyboard is lacking in quality (and lets face it, 87xx just plain bites its so bulky) and they can't have a Curve because of the camera.

As of late I've noticed touch screens gaining a grand social obsession. I personally have lost all interest in touch screens.. I had a PCC6700 and found it horridly annoying. I'd put my phone in my bag and it'd call people, applications would open up. Even if I locked the screen. So while I never put much thought into why RIM hasn't come out with a touch screen trust me their nothing special. I'd pass even if they did. -Also the software for the handwriting recognition doesn't work that well. I could never use it with out correcting everything.

Right now i think a touch screen would be a bad move, first of all its inlogical for a Blackberry unless they can perfect an touch screen keyboard.

What RIM needs is just a sturdy phone that has it all. Touch screen is still steps away from perfection when you think of it.

I don't think a touch screen berry would ruin anything for RIM. They already have very capable devices for those who love their keyboards or smart phones with keyboards in general. Providing a touch screen berry could only help them diversify their phone line up and possibly reach a different audience. If they can produce a touch screen berry for cheaper than an iphone and have it available for different carries I bet it will be a great success.