NERD FIGHT!! Thunder Rolls or Thunder Sucks?!!

By Kevin Michaluk on 9 Jul 2008 08:30 am EDT

BlackBerry Thunder Rolls or Sucks?!

** UPDATE: Well, Boy Genius apparently has taken some serious offense to this post. None intended at all. Myself, and the CB community love the BG! Without him we'd have wayyy less to blog about, talk about and dream about.  But he's got his inside source, we've got our inside sources, and those sources have conflicting information.

As for the 'ninja' thing -  We've known for a few weeks now the details on the Thunder's keyboard based on several insider reports, we weren't referring to the commenters, just that once it was out in the public via comments our sources we're cool with letting word out -- until that happened we had to keep it on the dl.  Fair point, though, we'll stop with the 'ninja' stuff.

As for the AT&T thing, you're right, uncalled for. That came from one of our sources (another RIM guy.. maybe friend's with your guy?!) but it really didn't add any value to the post so it's not worth having. My bad.

Anyway, bottom line is that we're still excited for the Thunder and, as BGR notes, the expected release on Verizon looks like November, plenty of time to hammer out any bugs there may (or may not) be. Hugs all around? **

We've gotz a NERD FIGHT going on here. Haha. Yesterday we posted on the BlackBerry Thunder's touchscreen keyboard, putting forth some info that has never been heard before, namely:

  • the device features localized haptics (clicks and buzzes at the point of screen contact)
  • features both Full QWERTY & SureType text entry (full QWERTY when in landscape mode; SureType when in Portrait - can also use T9)
  • and lastly, we stated that from our sources that the implemention was amazing!

Our buddy the Boy Genius put up a post this morning that puts forth the notion that bullet point three can be scratched out, at least for the time being. BGR says:

[...] we’ve been told that the unit is nowhere near being able to enter production, let alone being released. Here’s a quote: “Thunder is in no way shape or form market-ready. If Bold was any indication, Thunder won’t be ready for at least another 4-5 months.” Our source goes on to tell us that the keyboard is incredibly annoying to type on, and the screen actually shows ripples even when pressed ever-so-lightly. There is an accelerometer in here, but it goes “bonkers” when the device is moved. In its current state, the UI blinks and lags when you try to scroll, and for every key press, you have to wait half a second until you get a response. Our guy, when talking about haptic feedback, said that the screen “clicks.” We were informed there are “buttons” on each corner, so when you press the screen, you might feel one click, two clicks, or four simultaneously. We’re told these four independant buttons actually press, so you do “click” the screen. RIM implemented a touch-and-drag approach which is the only way to select on screen buttons at this point. We were also told this was the latest build of the software, and to quote him, “Most of the people who have handled it thinks it’s a joke.”

As for just how good the Thunder experience is/will be, I guess we'll find out! Yesterday's story came not on the tip of just one ninja, but no less than three that have used it - but it's also possible that one ninja's "amazing implemention" could be another ninja's "this thing sucks".

I just followed up with one of our reliable ninja's who has spent quite a bit of hands-on time with the Thunder, who's taken issue with a couple of the BG's points (he thinks maybe it's a bitter AT&T ninja, sad to not have the Thunder coming to their carrier, who was the source of info). This ninja pointed out to me that BG's description of how the Thunder's haptics work doesn't make any sense for a smartphone, never mind a company like RIM that puts a premium on keyboard functionality. Push come to shove, utilizing "four buttons in the corner of the screen" in the aim of acheiving localized touch feedback response just wouldn't cut it, not even close. It also seems the statement that "RIM implemented a touch-and-drag approach which is the only way to select on screen buttons at this point" doesn't actually make any sense.

Regarding production, while we have heard that it's getting set up for production, we by no way stated that meant full-production or release is coming anytime soon. Production means they're getting away from the first gen hand-builts and into a pre-production prototype run.

What isn't disputed in this butting together of Nerd Heads are the details - Haptics, Full Qwerty & SureType entry, and.... we've got some more info for you today coming via yet another ninja:

  • screen is glass
  • YEP, It's Multi-touch!!! 
  • and here's the biggie.... it seems RIM is seriously ramping up the pace of work on the Thunder, which could account for the recent rush of leaks. Apparently they have been caught a bit flat-footed by the iPhone 3G and its native support for Exchange and the whole Apple 'aura of goodness' in the sense that they don't have the Bold yet ready for media comparisons, and show and tells. In terms of both a platform-to-platform and device-to-device stakes RIM is feeling some heat from Apple's iPhone wave, thus they're putting serious effort into getting the BlackBerry Thunder out to market. This could just be an interpretation or reading of events inside RIM, not 100% the case, so take it with a grain of salt.

So there you have it - the GEEK Update on the BlackBerry Thunder, as best as we can nail it down today. I sum it up like this : the aspirations are set high, the ground work is laid out, but it seems RIM has some work left to do to bring it altogether and WITHOUT DOUBT they are hustling to do so. Here's a another summary that's perhaps more apropos to this nerdfight: "The board is set, the pieces are moving..."

Ding Ding. This Round of the Nerd Fight is over!

Topics: News & Rumors

Reader comments

NERD FIGHT!! Thunder Rolls or Thunder Sucks?!!


BGR is puffing on a apple pipe. They've been iphone, iphone, iphone the past few days. They basically work for at&t so it comes as no suprise they work up something negative for RIM days before the iphones release.

I'm going to venture a guess and say that the reason that BGR has been "iphone, iphone, iphone" is because it gets released on Friday. A lot of sites are talking a lot about the iPhone and I expect it to stay that way between now and probably the end up July.

The iPhone is a big deal to a lot of people and so people want to read about it, which makes blogs want to write about it.

I has been reported by several sites and forums that BoyGen works for ATT and his site is a iPhone fanboy site ... they downplay everyphone... This post by him seems more like a desperate rant tosave whatever is left of the iPhone Hype... One of the biggest fanboys of Aple products Walt Mossberg reviews the iPhone 3G, isn't that impressed,

and David Pogue of the New York Times has also turned in a kinda-sorta review of the iPhone 3G

Everyone was expecting the iPhone 3G to be the bomb!!! but maybe it bombed

Kevin... or some blog editor... is time to call out Boy Genius website and all his editors... they are sponsored by ATT... I think that ENgadget and Crackberry are on point with the THUNDER and it has taken a lot of thunder from the iPhoney.

Well at this point RIM's Thunder isnt competing with iphone 3G it is competing with the iphone 4G next year. So why is everyone bickering about something that isnt going to be here in the next 6 months.

It matters little how reliable all the Ninja chatter is. The fact is that Apple is ready to drop the 3G and RIM is out there, somewhere, who really knows, with its new Bold and Thunder. Being a Blackberry(8120) user, I am twisting in the wind, waiting for RIM to drop. Many reading these smartphone forums, like me, are early adopters, wanting the latest technology. My loyalties are not with RIM, Apple or any other manufacturer. I will buy the best product that is available. In that regard, RIM is missing the boat, big time, particularly if their new products are 4-5 months away.

Hey, looks like I may have been right after all. Looks like this phone is a long way away from being released on Verizon. Second, I would had reservations, and maybe even a bad omen, about introducing a new product that is "out-of-box" to what I normally produce, and naming it something that rhymes with errrr.... Blunder!! I can see the writings already on the wall. Let's hope not.

Blunder..too funny!

I'm pretty sure "Thunder" is just the codename for the 9500. Odds are it will get a different name when it launches.

I think that rim has dropped the ball buy not making the Thunder available to multi carries in the north America.

As a Curve 8330 user for sprint, I'm disappointed that Rim Would let Verizon lock them into a exclusive agreement.

I like sprints plans and pricing, I may have to go to a Windows Mobile phone or Google Android phone next.

Thanks. That's the point! We all work with the best info we have at the time - that's the blogosphere.

Just have to sit back and wait to see how it all unfolds.

Hopefully it means good things for BlackBerry Users. I have a lot of faith in RIM that they won't release a device unless they've got it right. If the Thunder doesn't rock, RIM has a lot more to lose than gain out of the fight. So it they're pushing ahead with it, I think that means they'll be coming to the fight with some ammo... and that should at least mean a good keyboard experience.

The Thunder neither rolls nor sucks. It just isn't ready. Who the hell cares what the product looks like now. . .it's how it looks when it's done that matters.

Similarly, with the iPhone 3G, it's not going to "bomb." It's a questionable upgrade for people that already own one, but for people that do not, none of the reviews have indicated it wasn't worth the buy.

What really cracks me up are the moronic claims about BGR or any other site's "bias" as if what the BGR or CrackBerry or any other blog posts (which, let's face it, isn't read by 95% of the planet) could do anything to prop up the iPhone or Thunder hype with what is clearly a skeptical crowd to begin with. Seriously. . .most iPhone buyers have never even read a gadget blog, and the same holds true for most BlackBerry owners. In other words, get a life.

I am curious though. . .in this age of BlackBerry vs iPhone, can one publish a story saying something not good about the BlackBerry without being accused of being pro-iPhone or pro-AT&T? Conversely, can one say something not-good about the iPhone without being accused of being a shill for RIM? Seriously, many of you need to grow up.

BG doesn't work at AT&T. He works in the music industry. How else do you think he gets into all those parties that he posts on his site?

This is just a case of Blackberry trying to copy MS! The timing is too coincidental to be anything but.

When another company is bringing out something that is a threat to their product announce that you've got something better just around the corner, dream up all kinds of cool sounding new features and pretend that people thinking of upgrading should just hang on a few more days, weeks, months, years.

Then quietly drop the cool new features you dreamt up, change the look slightly then release it much later than promised, full of holes and let the customer do the de-bugging for you.

You'd have to be a moron to fall for it but there are plenty about!

Well, I'm ready for an upgrade any day (w/ Verizon) and have been holding out for the Thunder. However, after much research, readings and reviews it beginning to look like HTC is the ONLY true innovator in the wireless handset war. Yes, this includes you iPhone who hasn't made any significant changes since the original iPhone other than adding 3G (which has been around for many carriers for yrs now) and RIM who seems to have too many things going on at once (Bold, Thunder, Kickstart, Napolian, etc, etc...). Seems like RIM needs to take one bite at a time so they get it right. I'm not convinced that RIM will/can make a device that has a touch screen UI comparable to the iPhone (w/o stealing thier technology). My stock is going with HTC. As they are really on to something with the HTC Touch Diamond. Many of you may ask, who is HTC? I'll tell you, they are a group out of Asia that is ready to show the world what technology is about and are VERY dedicated in revamping touch screen devices as we know them. Thier UI is amazing and a beautiful thing to watch. It has numerous email accounts, runs WM 6.1, loaded with multi-media functions, has a 3.2 mega pixel camera, smaller than both the iPhone/Thunder and the list goes on and on. Great thing is, it's coming to Verizon. They are going to blow past RIM and Apple like a stealth bomber and neither manufacturer will know what hit'em. No I don't work, nor paid by HTC (wish I was) to make these comments. It's just plain observation. I currently use BB 8830 (World Edition) nice phone but very similar to every other phone RIM has produced. We are reaching the generation of touch screens and I think HTC is the only true innovator that can take us to the next level. They tend to concentrate on one or maybe two devices at a time giving each one the full attention it needs to produce a true winner. Just my opinion. Kevin what do you think?

HTC while a great company in regards to making Windows mobile devices, has YET to perfect the touch screen on those devices and they have been at the game for a long time now..white screens of death...unresponsive touchscreens, believe me I could go on and on about the devices and their issues that continue to the run of a day, I exchange a minimum of 5 HTC devices for customers..all due to bad for their UI TouchFlo 3D is amazing although still laggy on the diamond until the fianl ROM gets out there...doesn't make it any more functional or work any better..

In a recent article I read about the CDMA version of the Touch Diamond being much more responsive and not having the "lag" everyone has been talking about. However, I don't think the GSM version has been given the same treatment yet. I look forward to getting my hands on the the CDMA and testing it for myself. I'm just growing tired of the "dos" looking RIM UI and bulkiness in handsets. The Bold doesn't impress me a bit and the Thunder WAS going to be the only option to keep me in the RIM family. But it sounds like RIM really has thier work cut out for them w/ Thunder and too many projects going on at once to perfect anything. Technology has come way to far for such a shotty UI.

Not to mention, how many times a day do you have to take your battery out of your BB when it locks up from doing simple web searches? You could consider that a MAJOR lag couldn't you? I'm just sayin...

Well, personally I don't usally have to pop my battery out to fix that...but then again, the reason for that is based on the fact I contain my self to mobile optimized websites, therefore never causing the "hang" ups..which is definetly a downside to the (current) BB browser now doubt abt that...any BB user even the hardest of hardcore BB fans will admit that (ie Kevin), but I'm not sure where this concept of HTC takes the time to prefect devices is coming from either..their a manufacturer with WAYY more devices then RIM and have MUCH more on the go then RIM..touch...touch pro..touch diamond...touch dual...touch cruise..not to mention the Kaiser (tilt series) cant leave out their Shift and Advantage as well..I won't get into the whole debacle they had with placing suffciant video drivers on the tilt..

You seem pretty set on your choice though, and I'm not here to try and sway that...too each his/her own, plenty of options out there these days, people will use what they wish...I wish you well in your ventures to Windows Mobile :)

Nothing like finding BlackBerry drama while smurfing the interweb xD.

Nice update/response to the Boy Genius post Kevin, that showed a lot of class.

Super classy update, Kevin. But then, understands blogging and understands the internet, and acts in a grownup, mature, and sensible manner -- even when having some fun and mutually beneficial crossover discussion.

I really like the BGR, and they get helza news and leaks, but I'm disappointed in how they handled this. Conflicting info builds interest for and leads to more info for everyone. Jeers guys. Lighten up.

(And "ninja" is a perfectly acceptable term, don't let them take that from you, 'k Stormshadow? :) )

I think massive corporations tend to be driven by war tactics in their strategies. I wouldn't be surprised if someone from RIM intentionally said the Thunder was garbage just to throw Apple's people off, as they read info 'leaking' online. After all, they're trying to out do one another, so deception might be getting put into play here. Who knows; I just hope to try it out for myself, sooner rather than later (tired of my dinosaur 8703e).

So, does this mean that all of us AT&T addicts will never get the Thunder!!!??? That would be soooooo unfair!!! I don't mind waiting a couple months after verizon gets it but AT&T better get it too!!!! One of my #1 reasons for not getting the iPhone is the keyboard!!! So if RIM really does improve it, so much so that it's just as good as their keyboards now, then I WANT ONE!!!!!!! AT&T better get the Thunder too!!!!

First off...just as with local, national and international news outlets (BBC, Fox News, NPR, CNN, magazines, newspapers, blogs, radio, etc.)...majority of us know about 'what's going on in the world' from these outlets.

Why? Because we don't have teleporting ability where we can be in multiple places practically at once; in order to really know what's going on. Therefor we resort to sources such as these outlets to know what's going on.

With CB, BGR, CNET and other's no different when it comes to news rgarding technology (in this case, phones devices). So for that...a certain level of respect, thanks and appreciation should go to these outlets.

HOWEVER; and this is the most important part of this post...HOWEVER, CB/BGR/others are a business just like anything else. Sure...blogging, creating websites, creating forums is a way to engage in enthusiasm for technology overall. But the bottom line is money really. I mean from the exposure given to CB/BGR/others from consumers; and out of that from the attention that companies (Apple, RIM, others) know that these outlets get from the consumers that buy their products...there is STRONG incentive for CB/BGR/CNET/others to say what they say and to push what they push.

From time-to-time these outlets may criticize the very product/company that they are fans of...but that's a small component of the larger scheme of things.

Yes; this is just an opinion...however I feel it's an opinion born from reality.

Round #1: CB- 227,307 members, BGR- 1438 members
Round #2: CB- 468,010 posts, BGR- 3054 posts
Round #3: CB- 47,882 threads, BGR- 1979 threads

By unanimous decision, AND STILL, heavyweight champion- CrackBerry!!!!

THIS JUST IN... Bg is full of himself and needs to lighten up... "my source is better than your source!" ...cmon.. seriously, what are you a 4 year old?? BOY is the key word in his title and I wont ever read that ego-maniacs blog.

Keep up the great work Crackberry!

For me crackberry has always been a bright light in the dark, technology blogging world. I love what someone said on the BGR comments about "BG's ninja throwing an apple shaped throwing star". Probably true.

Why apologies to BGR? Let him banter on his iphone fan boy site. So he dropped some news about BB's, cool we BB lovers appreciate it but he doesn't have to cry about what is posted on this site. The Thunder hasn't even been announced yet and your talking about how it sucks (Yes I know you got it from one of your Ninja's). Come on if the phone has been used it's in its infancy stages. Just like every piece of tech you see out there. A prototype of a device is going to suck and that's why it's a prototype. Nothing solid, not even close. We will see when the Thunder finally gets released how good it is or not? I highly doubt that RIM would put out a device that has the functionality of what BGR posted.

Oh and Kevin I wouldn't stop using the word Ninja you can use any word you want. Ninja it up! Crackberry-4-Life.

Kevin does. I'll tell you guys something; I don't know Kevin I'm simply a member here just like the 200,000+ other of you guys. But with my personal dealings with him regarding some matters on the forum...Kevin's been helpful, understanding and professional. I'm sure the way he interacts w/ members on the forum...isn't too far off from how he is in person.

BoyGenius...grow some apples.

Not for nothing, but BG takes himself waaaaay too seriously. I like his site and he has great scoops, but a lot of "scooping" is speculation coupled with rumor topped with hear-say. I don't know who he works for but if he is an insider of some sort it's almost a little janky to run out and blog what you know your company is doing, and then pass it off as hard nosed blogging. Why not just post company memos on your site and save the keystrokes?

And also, his pod cast blows. It's just him yapping to a smoothed out hip hop beat.

That's all I have to say on that (I'll post this over at BGR also).

I was recently doing a little fishing just outside KW; lots of Mennonites out that way. It was on a small pond/lake on a piece of private property, about 100 acres, where I'm doing some work building a home for someone rather high up in RIM. The grey haired dude who drives a hot Aston Martin showed up to his property just as I was pulling a nice trout out of the water; we gave that to the nice old couple with the chicken coop next door . Anyways, we got to talking and he showed me this new touch screen phone they're about too start selling and I had a chance to play with it. The phone will be a winner. Your original post is much more accurate then BGR's.

BTW, the home is coming along nicely; Wilson's is doing a great job.

BTW2, one of the admins on this site should be able to figure out who the grey haired dude is.

BTW3, they also have wild turkeys on the property. Pretty cool to watch but I hear they can be nasty buggers when approached :)


Ugh! both sites have great information flowing from them at all points in time, I'm actually disappointed to see this happen, especially since I frequent BOTH sites daily.

Is it possible after reading about this super cool RIM touch screen that I've gone from total touch screen hate (XV6700) to seriously considering a Blackberry Thunder?

""RIM is missing the boat, big time, particularly if their new products are 4-5 months away.""
im giving it all she's got captain she can't take it any more...

.... to boldly go where no man has gone before we must push forward.... full steam ahead.

[quote]RIM’s Thunder a “Joke” says BGR

by StockJockey
Wednesday, July 09, 2008 - 11:17 am

There have recently been rumors that Apple will roll out an iPhone with a keyboard, and it should be no surprise that Research in Motion (RIMM-NASDAQ) is trying to knock off the iPhone 3G with a competing product.

You had to figure it was going to be a bit lame, RIM does much very well, but the QWERTY keyboard is their franchise, and it sounds like the first shot at a touchscreen is not going well, according to the influential Boy Genius Report[/quote]

omg hahahhaha as if rim executives dont hate bgr anymore so as it is.

public enemy number one at the campus man public enemy number one

Omg I can't believe how much s**t this thing has stirred up over there! I actually read through all four pages (5th gave some error page) and I was cracking up over how pissed BG fans are getting. And after reading the BG's response (Are you really serious?), you must have really hit a nerve with BG. The picture he put on the Thunder says it all.

Kevin, you seem to be giving your side with no malicious intent directed at BG but BG on the other had... wow. "Go ring-a-ling that bell somewhere else, because I don’t play games. I bring factual heat." Someone has to give that guy a hit and tell him to relax.

If you read some of the posts for that blog, you'll get an idea. For example, a post on that blog: "good for you, crackberry sucks a fat nut." Wow. BG and everyone, relax!!

This thing is making the news. This did blow up quick.
(Sorry, had to hard return to fit the whole address)

"Boy Genius apparently has taken some serious offense to this post." Yea, that's an understatement.

Realistically, if somebody is very used to a qwerty-based balckberry, quite likely for a rim employee then some of them are going to declare that a touchscreen device sucks after just a brief use because none of those can compete for typing speed with a qwerty blackberry.

This isn't to say that the iphone sucks or that thunder sucks now or will suck when it is eventually released, but it does explain why some people will say something sucks after using one, whereas others will be more forgiving and thus sources having contradictory info is to be expected for a product at this stage of its development.

Thunder is not meant to be the perfect device for everyone, thats not how rim works nowadays, they always want to sell more blackberries so nowadays they will be releasing some products to cater to a new market or releasing updated products to satisfy their existing markets. Some of these devices will sell more than others, but as far as the big picture is concerned rim wants to be able to offer their customers choice so they don't need to look elsewhere.

What is happening to the world when we start having debates (no less) over an electrical appliance? It's hardly world altering, is it?

It's bad enough with all the bickering between console owners, let alone it being over phones!