Formal Snap of Touchscreen Blackberry Appears

Looks like the impending 3G iPhone just got its biggest competitor to date...

RIM’s sieve-like security strikes again…

Picking up from where it left off with the clamshell BlackBerry and Bold documents is BGR which has now snagged live photos of the Thunder, RIM’s answer to the likely unveiling of the 3G iPhone tonight… (stay tuned for coverage!).

Unlike most leaked shots, the breach Thunder blunder (couldn’t resist the alliteration – I’m a linguistic geek, I know) also alludes to a great deal of the functionality we can expect from the handset. Send and End/Home keys were to be expected, but there are far more side positioned convenience/soft keys than I would have anticipated.

Volume, Camera, Play/Pause/Mute, Lock/Unlock and a left side soft key are all in there and the handset will charge through a universal USB port which is handy. It isn’t labelled, but given the positioning of the USB port, I would also hope + pray for a 3.5mm (non-recessed!) headphone jack in the top too.

Of course the big question in all this is whether RIM can successfully port its famed UI over to a touchscreen environment at the first time of asking. We all know Apple did a great job with multi-touch (the stand-out feature of the handset) but it was working from a blank canvas. By contrast RIM must entice new owners without alienating its hardcore support… and don’t forget that virtual keyboard.

Expect something formal out of RIM by the end of the week because with the WWDC kicking off tonight it won’t be happy to let Apple take all the headlines. What a week we’re in for!


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