The BlackBerry’s keyboard is an object of worship, and RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis has publicly said the iPhone’s touch keyboard sucks. So, the BlackBerry Thunder‘s touch keyboard had better be the best one you’ve ever smeared your fingerprints on. According to Crackberry, it has two big tricks: The screen itself is “sort of like a big button,” so it pushes in a little bit with a clicky sound, and it buzzes where you push it (localised haptics). There is one big limitation though.
You can use either the full QWERTY or SureType keyboard. But, SureType is for portrait mode, and QWERTY is for landscape. Supposedly you can use either one anytime, but if you only want to use QWERTY, you’re going to be holding your phone sideways a lot. One thing that isn’t confirmed yet is whether or not it’s multi-touch (we hope it is). It does use WebKit for the web browser engine (same as Safari), so if there’s multi-touch, the browsing experience will be similar to the iPhone’s.
We won’t know whether this really adds up to the best touch keyboard ever until we put our hands on it, but it’s pretty reasonable to believe this is one area RIM won’t be cutting corners. [Crackberry]