Touchscreen BlackBerry Thunder Keyboard To Utilize Haptic Technology... AMAZING Implementation!

By Kevin Michaluk on 8 Jul 2008 12:09 pm EDT

Thunder Keyboard to Feature Haptic Technology!

Update: See bottom of this post or click here for update details! **

Always known for making the best physical keyboards, it seems RIM is going to hold the title of "best keyboard' for touchscreen smartphones as well.

Read through the comments of yesterday's BlackBerry Thunder Media Player Images post and you'll find some sweet information detailing the BlackBerry Thunder's touchscreen keyboard. I've heard some rumblings in the past few weeks that were of the same nature of the hands-on findings described, and have now confirmed with two more reliable sources that the info is legit... the BlackBerry Thunder's Keyboard Kicks Ass!

Now for some of the juicy, although limited, details....

  • Localized Haptic Technology - when you press on the Thunder's screen, it pushes in "just" a little bit (the whole screen is sort of like a big button) and you get immediate "real" feedback - you hear an audible clickety sound, and can feel a buzz in your finger where you actually pressed on the display.
  • Full QWERTY and SureType entry - hold the phone in landscape mode and you can take advantage of a full-qwerty keypad. Use the phone in portrait mode and you can enter data on a SureType keyboard. You will be able to choose/change your screen/keyboard orientation at anytime.
  • "Amazing Implementation!" - Apparently typing on the Thunder is a "really easy and enjoyable experience." It's an overstatement to call the Thunder an iPhone killer at this point, but it is safe to say when it comes to entering text the Thunder's keyboard makes the iPhone's keyboard look like a chump. RIM always criticized Apple for putting out a virtual keyboard that was "unusable." It seems RIM is going to show Apple how it's done... How Do Ya Like Them Apples?

Awesome. Leave it to RIM to CRACK the touchscreen keyboard nut. As for other screen related details, I'm still waiting to confirm a few things. We know the display is 360 by 480 resolution. We're not yet sure yet if it is multi-touch - while I've spoke to people who have actually used the keyboard, I haven't heard from anybody yet who has seen the browser in action (but we do know it's using WebKit for its engine, which is what the iPhone uses, so hopefully that means yes). As for the screen's materials, while BBSync reported yesterday that it's made of glass, the best I can confirm is that "if it's not glass, it's at least very glass-like". We've also heard that the first Thunder production runs are starting up this week, so it's likely we'll be seeing and hearing a lot more on the BlackBerry Thunder in the weeks ahead.

Update: 3 More tid-bits of information have come in...

  • the screen is listed as glass
  • it is Multi-Touch!
  • the implemention is as of right now maybe not all that amazing! Click for Details >>

If you have any more info, drop it in the comments or email it in to tips @

Topics: News & Rumors

Reader comments

Touchscreen BlackBerry Thunder Keyboard To Utilize Haptic Technology... AMAZING Implementation!


RIM KICKS A**!!!!! Seems like RIM is gonna show crapple how it's done!!! beat them chumps at their own game!!! Come on BOLD, WooooooooHooooooooo!!!!

wait until it comes out first you idiot. Seriously. I will be cracking up if it comes out and it sucks. And haptic feedback? Onscreen keyboard? Whats so new and innovative about all does that sounds new is that suretype thing. But it might be like t9 word.

so can we at least wait until the phone comes out before we all start saying what it is giong to beat. And from the looks of it, the music player doesn't look like its going to be that good.

The voyager was suppose to beat the iphone. didn't happen. The vu. Didn't happen. the instinct, didn't happen. the dare, didn't happen. let's just hope that the blackberry finally beats the iphone. I'm really getting tired of hearing what new touch screen phone is going to beat the iphone. I wish that people would just focus on a phone being a good phone. Not a phone beating the iphone. although its not impossible, so many phones have tried and failed. I think the whole instinct vs. iphone thing was so stupid and unecessary (even though it was super hilarious to watch). I think the funny commericals they have now on tv are so much better and so much more convincing though.

All the phone you mentioned that went against the iphone are all made from LG. Of course they'll all suck in comparasion to any phone.

Both of you are very foolish, it's not that all of them were from LG, because the Instinct isn't from LG. They all had their pros and cons vs the Iphone, but the one thing that they were they were not smartphones! So they didn't have the email abilities, syncing abilities, and the same internet browser quality.

Iphone killer??...never that, the iPhone is the best phone in the market because it is the only phone that actually gets software updates provided by apple. Face it guys..blackberry phones are good for business but that all of that is going to be over this week when apple releases Microsoft exchange for the iPhone..sorry to bring ur hopes down!!

Sounds promising...any similar technology out there, not necessarily cell phones, that we can test drive?...touch screen alarm pads?...system interfaces? interfaces?...arcade consoles?...etc...

Sounds very nice. So let's see, production starts this week, Verizon will be releasing it, sooooo, we'll see it in stores by ,say, mid 2009! Just kiddin'!

still skeptical. Interfacing haptic feedback with touch screen technology is nothing new, and Apple had good reason not to use it. As with a real keyboard, the button is pressed when you put your finger on it. With the haptic feedback it will "shake" and click, but anyone who's used the iPhone keyboard knows that it does not actually "press" the button until you raise your finger away from the touch screen (for any gui programmers, think of the difference between a mouse "press" and "release"). While this has its pros and cons, apple decided that giving the user more time to correct their mistakes (i.e. they can move their finger without raising it if their finger is in the wrong spot) was better than having realistic feedback. We'll see how it plays out for RIM.

side note: if you make the buttons large enough then you don't have to worry about hitting the wrong button. I just realized that the buttons _will_ be bigger because in the vertical position (the narrowest) it will use the SureType technology and have only half as many buttons as the iPhone.

That reassures me a little bit, but I'll still wait for some hands-on reviews before I make a final verdict.

the info I'm sourcing here is coming from hands-on reviews...

an extra degree of separation than say me writing about it on the blog as my hands-on, but I wouldn't write the store unless the sources I confirmed with are reliable...and in this case they are.

I really think RIM has a good keyboard going on here. I just can't wait to use it!

This phone is driving me nuts!!! I'm chompin at the bit to get my hands on it. I have Sprint service, and love it. You can't beat for $99 to get everything and the kitchen sink for their service. It's just killing me that this phone is going to be exclusive with Verizon!!! You think there might be a way of unlocking it?


HAHA. I like the way you think. You know I'm spending my days and nights on ebay just watching and waiting... :)

Re: Believeing it. Yeah, it's true... and to the comment above, I'm not exaggerating. I think RIM has really figured out the how to make a touchscreen keyboard good problem.

this is very exciting and interesting news indeed... let's hope more and more info gets uncovered in the following weeks!!

Sounds very promising. I would have to play with to see if I would like it. I know where RIM is going with this and I think it will be good. The only downer is that it's a Verizon phone, I don't think that was a good move but hey maybe they wont hit the quotas and it will be available to other carriers.

I'm absolutely willing to jump on board with verizon to obtain this phone . I'm so ready to leave the sidekick genration behind . Hello BB 9500!

Everything sounds amazing so far , now i'm just super curious on the release date, pricing for this unit and data plans for it as well .

Can't wait .

I'm wating for this bad boy, I have to get something to match to look at feel of an iphone. Not because I like the iphone so much, only because I love the touch screen technology.

You know, I just got back form a trip into the future where I had a chance to do the unthinkable. I actually got to take a tour of the Enterprise. That's all cool and everything, but the coolest thing... the LCARS display units for all touch terminals on that ship are made by RIM!!! :p

I call dibs on making the first LCARS theme for the Thunder.

Hmmm....a vodafone branded pic of the thunder eh Kevin?

Funny, I've never seen one of those before...all I have seen so far is a VZW one...

Anyways...this would be awesome if the haptics are implemented for sure.

I thought it was pretty well known that it was a Verizon exclusive in the US and a Vodafone exclusive elsewhere.

And since Vodafone is GSM, they're just an import away for us T-Mobile and AT&T users.

rumor has it the GSM bands will be overseas only like the other verizon world devices. of course you can unlock the phone, but it's not really going to help because the bands aren't used here.

I wonder if I can buy it form VZW and activate on the Sprint Network.

I hope RIM has an escape Clause and Sprint can get this phone.

soudns like a great phone. i jusst hope that rim make a better sim card latch/cover as well as media card latch/cover, rather than the flimsy metal latch/cover that came with my 8310.

Assuming Thunder drops on Verizon, what will the plans look like? I have T-Mobile w/1500 mins, BB data and @Home for $79.

Just last week I got and confirmed reports from a very reliable source that Blackberry will indeed be releasing a touchscreen phone named the Blackberry Thunder. There have been reports that claim that Blackberry will release the thunder on the Verizon wireless network but we have confirmed that it will be tied to T mobile network in the United States. As for other locations we are being kept in the dark. With a release date sometime this fall, the Thunder is a late entrant to the touch phone market and if it does not come loaded with killer features, Blackberry will pay dearly for releasing it after the Instinct and the 3G I Phone.

OMG! This is so exciting. I can't wait to have this touchscreen BB. Let's hope it will have more great features than the iPhone.

I'm going to cry because I can't use a Thunder with AT&T. Damn! And I don't want to switch to VZW. A Bold it is! (Unless a combo keyboard/touchscreen model comes out)

I am so loving all the info that is starting to "leak" out. This will definitely be my phone for sure and most likely my wifes as well.

I HAD and iphone and had no problems typing. Reading this has not only got me excited, but also my wife, who usually can't understand my love for phones, lol...

on the screen since it is touch screen can it do just touch not like the warm finger touch?? i hate the i phone for that. i have nails lol

Yesterday i was skeptical about typing in a touchscreen, but with this info i'm 90% less skeptical i guess. Still will have to test it to add the 10% i'm missing.

The most important thing is going to be how they implement the UI. I'm also hoping this comes to T-mobile before ATT.

I think that the bold and thunder are going to be very similar. the thunder's ui looks almost identical to the bold for example, just a little modified for a touch screen phone. and I don't think that the thunder is giong to be a lot better because the bold is coming out at almost the same time. if the thunder is that much better, then sales will be lost fromt he Bold, which is dumb.

seriously tho, if this touchscreen is anything like the LG Vu, it really really blows. i work for a cellphone retail store and i use all these phones all the time. the Vu's screen is NOTHING compared to the iphone. we'll see with the thunder, but talk is cheap.

Thanks Kevin for the information. It is good to know the progress on these planned products. I am willing to wait for this one, even until it get to AT&T, and it will eventually, like all things....good things come to those who wait....I just hate waiting!!! ;-)

Why should you wait on the Thunder and not buy the Bold? Hay, you are going to have to answer that question yourself. It is a matter of preference. Do you want touchscreen or not?

...absolutely driving me crazy.

I used to really want an iPhone for the size but we all know its limitations.

Now I'm thinking the Thunder may be the answer to my prayers. BUT I have no freaking idea how long its going to take to come out! At least I can't renew my contract until August 30th... so I have to have patience to a degree, but I doubt the Thunder will be out by then. But maybe...

I can't wait for this to come out and stop the iphone - I'm so sick of hearing iphone zombies act like cult members- with the superior product and the superior servers- this will be the ultimate handheld device-

Research in Motion rocks

You don't seem to be the *least* bit cult-like. The only thing worse than an iPhone zombie is a Crackberry Rimmer.

I'm very curious as to how they will implement this click. Are they going to have it so that we jab straight in and click when we want to select something? Will the haptic feedback only be applicable when typing, or will it be used throughout the interface? Will they allow selecting by a mere tap, and use the click as a contextual menu?

People are not THAT unfamiliar with touchscreens. They KNOW that when they touch/tap, something should happen. Now based on this info, it seems like nothing will happen when you touch, but only when you click in. That sounds stupid. That's one extra 'action' for user to perform. People may or may not like it - who knows.

People like Touch screens,because now a days ATM machines are more useful for money withdraw.Those ATM machines are mainly using touch Screens.

Car auctions

Well, if you go by Balmer's prediction, no one was going to purchase one of these "touch screens."

This isn't all that different from the Zune -- chasing after an idea you couldn't bring to market before your competitor. Apple should be thanked for helping with evolution of the smartphone. At least now everyone is going all out and not just running these things like palm pilots that do email and SMS ...

Now if we can just see the same evolution with cell phone providers ...

I have to say my old Treo 700P keyboard blows the Curve's away, IMO. It's way easier for me to feel separations between keys (I end up hitting extra keys on my Curve way more often than on my Treo, and my thumbs aren't like big or anything). Plus, the Curve's hard, stiff keys hurt my thumbs a lot more then the smooth, rounded keys on my Treo. I never grew sore from my Treo, but after a while of typing on the Curve, my thumbs get a little sore.

The good news on the Thunder REALLY should be taken with a massive grain of salt - more like a pile of salt in a Duluth, MN snow removal depot. The Thunder is going to be a groundbreaker for RIM, but lets not get too far ahead of ourselves with H-Y-P-E. We dont even have a Bold out there yet...I'm going to defer to BGR on this one...lets celebrated some Boldness first. We'll get our Thunder down the line. Heck, let Jobs have his day with his toy this week. RIMs time will come. We, as a Crackheadberry community have zippy patience! I still heart my Curve (esp with some 4.5 action.)

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.

Apple might have a good OS and all but has anyone picked one up and talked? Quality is terrible and drops calls all the time. I don't think you can multi task on it too. Like I said before, when iphone SDK comes out some people will convert there IPODS to Iphones since it pretty much the same thing. A Ipod with a bad phone. That feed back keyboard sounds interesting!

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