Research in Motion’s BlackBerry Storm smartphone will be hitting the market in the U.S. and Europe next month with exclusive rights belonging to Verizon Wireless and Vodafone. The Storm features a 3.25-inch screen, which is slightly smaller than the iPhone’s; the BlackBerry’s first touch-screen interface; and 3G network support. But, on the negative side, the BlackBerry Storm lacks Wi-Fi access and weighs approximately 16 percent more than the iPhone.
Credit: Research in Motion
From the Wall Street Journal:
Research in Motion Ltd. is rolling out its first real answer to Apple Inc.’s iPhone, the touch-screen BlackBerry Storm, which will work on broadband networks on both sides of the Atlantic and be exclusive to Verizon Wireless in the U.S. and to Vodafone Group PLC throughout Europe.
BlackBerry will have to distinguish itself amid the wave of other sleek do-everything smart phones coming to market, like Google Inc.’s G1, made by HTC Corp.. The Storm, BlackBerry’s first touch-screen device, aims to make it harder to inadvertently select items while moving images across the screen.
The success of Apple’s iPhone has spawned a series of touch-screen smart-phones from manufacturers around the world over the past year. Consumers will have a multitude of options this holiday season — among them, Samsung Electronics Co.’s Instinct, LG Electronics’ Dare, and the soon-to-be-launched G1 from T-Mobile USA Inc., a unit of Deutsche Telekom AG, and Google.
The much-awaited smartphone sports many of the features of Apple’s handsets, and even outshines it in certain categories. The touch-screen smartphone may give Verizon Wireless a legitimate rival to the iPhone 3G, and it may help stem the loss of subscribers to AT&T. The Storm has 3.25-inch touch screen that has a 360 by 480 resolution. Like the iPhone, the Storm has support for multi-touch interface, but RIM’s device will have haptic feedback for its virtual keyboard, and it will be capable of cut and paste. The keyboard will have RIM’s SureType layout in portrait mode, and it will be a full QWERTY layout in landscape orientation.
Tech journalists and gadget lovers across the globe are rejoicing over the announcement of the BlackBerry Storm, RIM’s first touchscreen cell phone to compete with the iPhone.
Those who can’t wait to get their hands on BlackBerry’s latest call it a marvel and its keyboard functionality, which makes you press down on the screen to register a “touch”, is something worth drooling over.
OK, I guess I can concede that the Storm is really neat and the touchscreen idea is fantastic. But I still don’t see how the BlackBerry Storm will be able to compete on any level with the iPhone 3G.
It’s not that I have a problem with RIM–I think the BlackBerry Curve is a fantastic device–or that I’m not impressed by the Storm. I just don’t see how BlackBerry’s first touchscreen device can compete against the iPhone if the vast majority of “mainstream” users simply don’t know anything about it.
Go ahead and ask the person next to you at the office about the BlackBerry Storm. Chances are, if they aren’t in to technology like you and I, they wouldn’t have the slightest clue about it even though it’s making headlines all over the tech world today.
Then ask those people what they knew about the iPhone the day after it was announced. I’ll bet you’ll find that they knew much more about the iPhone than the BlackBerry Storm.
Do you see what I’m getting at here? No matter how important a new device in the cell phone business may be to the growth of the industry, it will never be able to outshine the iPhone.
I just got done reading Matthew Miller’s preview of the BlackBerry Storm, RIM’s first BlackBerry that’s replaced the keyboard with a touchscreen system — one that you must physically depress with your finger to manipulate (resulting in a “satisfying click,” as many reviewers have reported).
My question is simple: is this truly an advancement?
It occurs to me that, while RIM’s responsive touchscreen technology, called ClickThrough, allows it to differentiate itself from the iPhone, it’s not a great advancement in the long run. Well-built as any BlackBerry is, I feel that the screen would eventually give out over frequent, Crackberry-level usage. And when the screen doesn’t press anymore (or worse, when it presses too far), then what?
It strikes me that such physical use of the device is actually backtracking a bit, technologically. Perhaps advancement, to me at least, is removing a “touch” altogether.
RIM’s “push-screen,” as I think it should properly be called, seems to bridge the gap between a true keyboard and a true touchscreen. Which is good for RIM’s keyboard-happy users, but by no means some groundbreaking new technology.
Plus, it also occurs to me that this technology would actually slow down the speedier users among us, because you actually have to take the time to depress the screen when tapping a message out.
But we’ll see when Matt gets his hands on one in a month or so.