Verizon Wireless is counting on a touchscreen BlackBerry from Research In Motion — code-named “Thunder” — to help it compete against archrival AT&T, which is Apple’s exclusive U.S. carrier partner for the new iPhone 3G. Here’s hoping things get worked out, fast: Mobile blog Boy Genius Report says Thunder is “nowhere near being able to enter production,” citing a source who, the site claims, works for RIM (RIMM).
What’s wrong with Thunder? Well, what isn’t wrong with it? The keyboard is “incredibly annoying” to type on, the screen shows “ripples even when pressed ever-so-lightly,” the user interface “blinks and lags,” and the software is “a joke.” Based on how long it’s taken RIM and AT&T (T) to sort out problems with the forthcoming BlackBerry Bold, BGR concludes, “Thunder won’t be ready for at least another 4-5 months.”
Bad words to leak out, but nothing to be too worried about: All gadgets are buggy when they’re being developed, and we don’t expect RIM to have Thunder fully working yet if it’s not supposed to ship until the holidays. But let’s hope Thunder doesn’t face the unexpected delays that have plagued Bold — or Verizon could have a rough Christmas.
Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless’s execs are beaming in New Jersey today after their shout-out in Walt Mossberg’s Wall Street Journal review of the new iPhone. Verizon makes a lot of noise about the quality of their wireless network, and Mossberg’s words should make them very happy:
At my neighbourhood shopping centre, where the first iPhone got little or no AT&T service, the iPhone 3G registered strong coverage. But I still found that calls regularly broke up on some major streets. In New York City, riding in a taxi along the Hudson, one important call was dropped three times on the new iPhone. Finally, I borrowed a cheap Verizon (VZ) phone and got perfect reception.
This doesn’t make up for the fact that Verizon doesn’t have an iPhone to sell. But it certainly helps.
Illustration: Boy Genius Report