iPhone 3G: Attack of the Blackberry Thunder iClone!

Sure, the iPhone 3G launch is tomorrow. Consider this an amuse bouche. Or the opposite of that, an annoy bouche. Whatever. Something salty to make Friday taste all the more sweet!

The subject of today's battle royal? Nope, not iPhone vs. Blackberry. That's old. This time it's Blackberry vs. Blackberry, Blog vs. Blog, over the iClone to end all iClones: the touchscreen Blackberry Thunder!

Says our sister site Crackberry.com, 10th degree Blackberry belts and reigning world champions:

Touchscreen BlackBerry Thunder Keyboard To Utilize Haptic Technology... AMAZING Implementation! [...] Leave it to RIM to CRACK the touchscreen keyboard nut.

Says Boy Genius Report, craftiest of all mobile blogsphere Ninja:

The keyboard is incredibly annoying to type on, and the screen actually shows ripples even when pressed ever-so-lightly. [...] Most of the people who have handled it thinks it’s a joke.

Read on for round 2!

Of course, Crackberry.com ain't going down without a NERD FIGHT:

Screen is glass. YEP, It's Multi-touch!!! [... RIM has] apparently been caught flat-footed by the 3G iPhone 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 comparisons and show'n'tell sessions, media comparisons, etc, so both as a platform-to-platform and device-to-device stakes RIM is feeling the heat from Apple's iPhone wave, thus they're putting serious effort into accelerating the Thunder.

But it's a quick tag to Mike Lazaridis for the RIM CEOh-Snap 180 turn-around KO:

THERE’S a reason that R.I.M. is averse to the iPhone’s glass pad. “I couldn’t type on it and I still can’t type on it, and a lot of my friends can’t type on it,” says Mike Lazaridis, R.I.M.’s co-chief executive and technological visionary. “It’s hard to type on a piece of glass.”

D'oh! Guess he had no idea about the Thunder at that point either...

Softball sarcasm aside, what's my take?

Technology is hard. It took Apple a reported 2.5 years to get an iPhone ready to ship (and then, arguably, just barely with firmware that was soon updated), and that's on top of its rumored prior iTablet development efforts. So, my guess is that the truth lies somewhere in between the hype and the hate: RIM's working their apps off to get this thing tasty as soon as possible, but that soon won't be that soon.

Either way, all us smartphone lovers benefit. RIM is making the Thunder precisely because the iPhone has put the pressure on, and if the Thunder is a home run, that pressure shifts to Apple to make something even more astounding for the iPhone v3.

Prior to the iPhone, the industry was complacent. Now its moving again. And that's a good thing. (Even if it would be a better thing to see less iCloning and more differentiation and innovation from the other manufacturers, b'okay RIM?)