(Update: I took the number out of the headline, because it keeps changing.)
I got to play with a Blackberry Storm earlier this week and a couple of features immediately jumped out at me that beat the iPhone hands down:
- Copy and Paste – it works by selecting a range of text with two fingers, then pressing the contextual menu/Blackberry key, then clicking on cut or copy from the pop-up menu. Apple is having a hard time implementing this important feature because iPhone lacks a dedicated button.
- Camera – Storm includes a 3.2MP camera with flash, auto-focus and video recording. It also has a well-placed, two stage button that acts as an autofocus and a shutter release. Everything about the Storm camera buries the iPhone's wimpy 2PM shooter.
- Keyboard – In addition to capacitive technology (like the iPhone has) the Storm allows a physical click/press of the touchscreen. The feature is similar to the trackpad in the new MacBook which is one large button. This unique hybrid technology is completely unique and not available on any other phone. (Update: it's not resistive according to VZW, but rather a "mechanical component that allows the screen to depress").
- Landscape keyboard– The Storm allows you to enter text in email and their Web browser with a keyboard in landscape/horizontal mode. This is a small advantage that Apple should be able to address (?) in a firmware update but it's an advantage nonetheless.
- MMS – Ever get a text message on your iPhone from someone trying to send you an MMS? They're the ones that require you to go to a URL and enter a long, mixed case username and password. Since the iPhone lacks copy and paste (see #1 above) I never go through the effort of trying to read these messages.
- Turn-by-turn GPS – While the iPhone includes a GPS radio and antenna the software is sub-par. Storm includes a free Blackberry Maps application and for an additional $10 per month (or $3 daily) you can subscribe to the VZ Navigator service that provides turn-by-turn directions in the U.S.
- Removable battery – Apple missed the boat on this and created a cottage industry in external batteries.
- Expansion slot – Don't worry about the Storms puny 1GB internal memory because it has a MicroSD slot under the battery door that supports up to 16GB cards.
- RIM email and messaging services – While this one is debatable for Mac users that subscribe to MobileMe, Enterprise Blackberry users will tell you that this is an important advantage for the Storm.
- (NEW) Voice dialing – Safety first. At minimum Apple needs to add this to the iPhone for safety reasons, then they can make a commercial about how convenient it is. I mean, come on, is Apple really going to let Google beat them to speech recognition?
- (NEW) Stereo Bluetooth (A2DP) – Handy for listening to music and movies without the cord. I've been critical about Bluetooth for music in the past because of poor sound quality, but I hear that it's getting better.
Several of the above features are software based and could easily be implemented by Apple, but they haven't as of Firmware 2.2 which was released on 21 November.
Is Apple giving a giant gift to RIM/VZW on a silver platter? What are your thoughts on the Storm? Does it beat the iPhone?