Unlike Palm, RIM’s answer to the iPhone, the Thunder, has actual innovations:

When you press on the Thunder’s screen, it pushes in “just” a little bit (the whole screen is sort of like a big button) and you get immediate “real” feedback - you hear an audible clickety sound, and can feel a buzz in your finger where you actually pressed on the display.

I haven’t noticed or cared too much that the iPhone lacks a tactile response. The audible bell is sufficient for me.

But for Blackberry users, the tactile, full QWERTY keyboard is an essential feature. Instead of simply aping the iPhone’s take on the problem, or leaving the hardware keyboard in place, RIM may succeed in improving on the idea. Obviously we won’t know until demo units are made available, but it’s interesting to see a company learn from Apple, adopting ideas that work for them (the Thunder will utilize WebKit for its browser), and improving on ones that don’t.

As always, real competition is great to watch.

(via Gruber)