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Thunder To Battle iPhone?! Well, Maybe Some Day Just Not Now

blackberry bold 9000
Blackberry.com
blackberry bold 9000

The rumor mill once again is churning big time in the battle between BlackBerry and iPhone, Research in Motion and Apple , the Bold versus the Beautiful.

And now comes word of the Thunder.

Speculation is rampant all over the web that RIM is readying the touch screen Thunder for release in the Fall. Images of Thunder on the web, courtesy of the site The Boy Genius, make the compelling case that iPhone indeed will see some stiff competition from Thunder. A slick device, four buttons, matte black, a touch screen.

But it's not real. It's a mock-up, a fake. And that's my problem in all this. A year ago, when iPhone buzz was deafening, and we began pitting RIMM vs. AAPL, images began circulating then as to what BOTH an iPhone AND a touch screen from BlackBerry might look like.

In fact, I remember that most people several months ago assumed that the BlackBerry 9000, now known as the Bold, would be the touch screen Crackberrys were longing for. I remember those mock-up images vividly. And they look suspiciously like the ones being used to purport BlackBerry's own second coming, the so-called Thunder on the way in a matter of months.

Look, I don't doubt that RIM is working on a touch screen device. I don't doubt that the device is called Thunder, or Storm, or Second Coming, or whatever. I'm convinced that this is an initiative RIM is actively working on. And that it's coming out soon. And that many of the widespread reports from Boy Genius to the Wall Street Journal regarding availability on Verizon and Vodaphone, and that it'll run on 4G networks, supporting LTE, may be true.

It's just that all of this has been speculated upon, ad nauseum, for months, and to me, it would be news if RIM weren't working on a touch screen version of the BlackBerry, given the buzz iPhone's touch screen has generated.

For me, the best part of the Bold, which has been formally unveiled, is the fact that it DOES have a keyboard, and not a touch screen. But I digress.

The only reason buzz surrounding the BlackBerry "Thunder" has gotten deafening this week is because of the pretty image that Boy Genius posted on its website. Pretty, yes. Real? No. With Boy Genius even writing: "No, you morons, the image above is not real. Didn't we go through this once before?"

Boy Genius does some great work. Been right and out front a lot. Its moles seem to be everywhere. But it appears many of those moles don't have digital cameras and that's too bad. After all, a picture--mock-up or real--is apparently worth at least a thousand rumors.

Questions? Comments? TechCheck@cnbc.com

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