Sneak Peek: BlackBerry Storm

Sneak Peek: BlackBerry Storm

Summary: Apple ignited a firestorm of competition when it announced the iPhone in January of 2007. Since then the touchscreen smartphone segment has been ablaze with competition from all the major OEMs and carriers, including Nokia (Tube), RIM (Thunder/Storm), LG (Voyager), Samsung (Instinct), Sony Ericsson (X1), HTC (G1) and yes, even Motorola (Krave ZN4).

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Sneak Peek: BlackBerry StormApple ignited a firestorm of competition when it announced the iPhone in January of 2007. Since then the touchscreen smartphone segment has been ablaze with competition from all the major OEMs and carriers, including Nokia (Tube), RIM (Thunder/Storm), LG (Voyager), Samsung (Instinct), Sony Ericsson (X1), HTC (G1) and yes, even Motorola (Krave ZN4).

The term "iPhone killer" has become so overused that it has almost become a liability for handset manufacturers, using it is akin to admitting defeat to the almighty and ever-powerful iPhone. We all need to take a step back and realize that they're just touchscreen phones and that there will be many more like them to come in the future. (Insert tool analogy here). Why do we get so wound up and emotional over the shiny, wireless devices anyway?

That said, one of the most highly-anticipated of the lot is the upcoming Blackberry Storm (a.k.a. 9530) from RIM and Verizon Wireless. It's going to be one of the most closely observed iPhone competitors because: a) Verizon's network is the best, hands down and, b) it's the first touchscreen Blackberry, evar.

I spent a couple of hours yesterday with the Storm and created a few short videos of some of its features and the overall user interface.

I tested copy and paste, YouTube, the media application, 3.2MP camera (with flash, auto focus, image stabilization and video recording), rear panel with removable battery, memory card and SIM slots, hardware buttons, accelerometer, hybrid capacitive/resistive touchscreen, Web browser and the enhanced visual voicemail with archive and forward functionality.

It was far from a complete review, but rather a little peek under the Kimono of what may be the hottest gadget of the year.

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Topics: iPhone, Hardware, Mobility, BlackBerry

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26 comments
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  • The true strength of the Storm...

    ...is the same as the iPhone: it creates competition.

    It would be very easy for Apple to rest on its laurels for awhile (and I think in many ways, it has). But the Storm appears to be bringing real competition, unlike many of the iPhone "killers". This competition is extremely beneficial for all users, not just purchasers of RIM products.
    steeldestroyer
  • RE: Sneak Peek: BlackBerry Storm

    This device is great...tested a beta version and was very impressed. The retail version should be even better.
    likeabite
  • My friend walked into a Verizon store...

    Conversation went like this:

    Friend: Hi, I'm interested in the Storm. I've seen my friend's
    iPhone. At work, in places where no has good mobile
    coverage, my friend uses the iPhone's wifi and he's able to
    still use his apps, download music, etc. He also has access
    to thousands of AT&T wifi hotspots-

    Clerk: Sorry. No wifi in the Storm

    Friend: Wow. Okay. Like 172 million other people, I use
    iTunes for music, video, podcasts, etc. The iPhone
    syncronizes perfect-

    Clerk: Sorry. The Storms no iPod.

    Friend: Okay. My friend says the iPhone runs a desktop
    class operating system which allows for thousands of apps
    and future features that Apple hasn't announced yet-

    Clerk: Sorry. No desktop uses Blackberry's OS.

    Friend: Oh. My friend is able to use multitouch to pinch
    and zoom and swipe and-

    Clerk: Sorry. MultiTouch is an Apple trademark, so we even
    shouldn't be using that term with the Storm, and no, you
    won't be pinching and zooming on it.

    Friend: Oh. Well I saw my friend yesterday speaking into
    his iPhone and talking to Google's servers and getting
    search replies; pretty neat I must sa-

    Clerk: Sorry. Maybe some day.

    Friend: Oh, Okay. My friend is able to type extremely fast
    on the iPhone but sliding his fingers across the screen and
    just touching-

    Clerk: Sorry, you have to touch most buttons twice on the
    Storm, once to hilite, then once to click. So it will only take
    you twice as long to type. No big deal.

    Friend: Oh. Well my friend has some incredible apps that
    use the accelerometer and wifi and OS-

    Clerk: They'll be apps for the Storm! As for the amount
    and quality and commitment from developers? I don't
    know.

    Friend: Okay. Well, Apple's been working on the iPhone's
    interface and software for years, and even they had some
    glitches and they've been fixing them with updates.
    Competitors were taken by surprise by the iPhone and had
    to rush to make something that looks like one. I heard the
    Storm had glitches that delayed it's release. How do I know
    it won't be a major one that stops email from working, or
    how do I know the hardware can survive the torture test
    that CNET put the iPhone through?

    Clerk: First of all, if the mail stops, it's because RIMM's
    NOC center in Canada had a major breakdown, like's its
    done before, so don't blame the Storm! Second, I haven't
    seen a torture test yet on the Storm.

    Friend: Okay. So let me get this straight. No wifi, no iTunes
    syncing so I still have to carry my iPod, a second device.
    No proven App Store, no report on software reliability yet
    or hardware testing yet. Can you answer me one more
    question?

    Clerk: Yes?

    Friend: Where's the nearest Apple or AT&T store?

    Clerk: Come on. I'll go with you!
    ShazAmerica
    • Where was your imaginary friend...

      when the iPhone first came out without 3G?
      iTeaBoy
    • what a douche

      Imagine being behind this blowhard inline to speak to the clerk, if you want an iPhone, just get it.
      ilyab
    • You're dumber than I thought

      So you spent time on all that dribble for no apparent reason...the same dribble I could make about the iPhone's lack of MMS, Copy and Paste, a removable battery, Video Recording, good email client, poor call quality, no Voice recording, no editing of MS Office files horrid typing input and an OS that crashes. Nice try there little one.
      likeabite
    • I ran into "friend" at ATT store

      Funny, later that day, I heard this same "friend's" lament while in line at the AT&T store. Then, he seemed to pay close attention to me while I asked the salesperson, "Does the iPhone have a 3.2 meg camera with full features, can I avoid the detested iTunes protocols for syncing media, can I use my B/T Motorola stereo headphones" and several other features-related questions, and then seemed particularly attentive when I advanced the discussion to matters of coverage and customer service. After observing the rep's blank looks and multiple "uhs," he followed me back to the Verizon store across the arterial.
      spyder3010
      • The "friend" ignored these, too

        Some of the other "features-related questions" that I should have detailed in the account above: "Does the iPhone have unlimited storage memory? Can you buy a 16Gb phone for $240 rather than $299, can it do multi-tasking, can you swap batteries during a long flight, can you copy and paste, can you use it as a tethered modem?" I'm not sure which of these many questions caused him to rethink his choice of iPhone/AT&T.
        spyder3010
    • Sounds like a troll...

      ...from Apple. Many smartphone users want them for other reasons besides fun and games. :-)
      qdunder
    • wat

      There are only two ways to explain that post:
      A. The Clerk is very uninformed and is paid very little. one
      thing: Blackberries have Yahoo! Talk, which does the same
      thing as Google's software, and Vlingo, which is systemwide.
      B. You're making this up to justify your iphone or your wish
      to buy one, and hoping you don't sound like an uninformed
      buffoon. this is most likely
      Futurdreamz@...
    • Apple or AT&T... which one is your employer?

      ROFL.

      To write something like that, you must be worried.
      Badgered
    • NT: LOL

      Ok... again... LOL
      Jediguardian
  • RE: My friend walked into a Verizon store...

    I guess your friends main reason to have a phone is to listen to music and play games. If you are using it for actual mobile communication and email and not depending on starbucks for free wifi, blackberry is the only way to go.
    sverado
    • Verizon is CDMA (North America only)

      What if their friend wants to use their phone overseas? CDMA
      phones are nothing more than a paperweight in Europe. I was
      able to use my 3G iPhone for voice calls while I was in
      London and Wifi for my data at WiFi hotspots throughout the
      city while on vacation there.
      aristotle_z
      • Wrong! Storm IS an international phone.

        Aristotle needs to go back to school . . . the Storm "will function internationally, supporting quad-band: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks and single-band: 2100 MHz UMTS/HSPA networks." Information from another article on the ZDNet site.
        spyder3010
  • RE: Sneak Peek: BlackBerry Storm

    The key here, is to wait for the "early adopters" to do what they do best: RUSH to be the "first" to own and then see what the real hands on prevailing opinions are.
    I can certainly wait a couple of weeks before taking the plunge on the Storm and see if it actually IS...."the perfect....Storm"...forgive me....
    michaelspitz001@...
  • RE: Sneak Peek: BlackBerry Storm

    Storm in a teacup innit? I have an old Blackberry and its still fruitful.I wont rush out to buy the latest,like most people i've already got a bucket load of fones.3g that already cost me a bomb,i had shares in Vodafone,was the largest company in the world till it bought 3g licences.That was a bucketfull of money they wasted paying the government!fones will only have advanced when you can talk to someone on jupiter,five minutes before they dialed you?
    afalouth@...
  • RE: Sneak Peek: BlackBerry Storm

    I understand you removed the videos at VZW request so how about putting in words your impressions of everything you tested... Did it go well, is it all it's cracked up to be or is it another failed attempt?

    dph
    dphahn
  • RE: Sneak Peek: BlackBerry Storm

    Jason - you should have waited until Friday (Storm release date) to publish this "Sneak Peek" with the short videos included. Without the videos you have told us nothing we don't already know.
    jshoolman@...
  • RE: Sneak Peek: BlackBerry Storm

    It would have been a bag of Doritos if the thing had Wi-Fi. How stupid can they be?
    Exit39