A tough decision: Grab an iPhone or wait for the Storm?

A tough decision: Grab an iPhone or wait for the Storm?

Summary: Verizon Wireless and Research in Motion should be thanking one particular customer service rep for stopping at least one customer - me - from defecting to AT&T and the iPhone this week. I had called in to find out about altering my existing family plan and porting my phone over to AT&T when she asked me if I'd heard of the Blackberry Storm.


Verizon Wireless and Research in Motion should be thanking one particular customer service rep for stopping at least one customer - me - from defecting to AT&T and the iPhone this week. I had called in to find out about altering my existing family plan and porting my phone over to AT&T when she asked me if I'd heard of the Blackberry Storm. Of course, I had - but I let her go through her pitch as to why I should wait for its arrival before making a decision.

The Blackberry Storm, you see, is supposed to be a real contender for the iPhone, she said. And though a date hasn't been announced for the release of the Storm, the customer service reps are expecting it to become available anytime now. Nothing is official, of course -Verizon is being quiet about details of the release. But my rep, a veteran who has seen excitement around new phones in the past, said that when the advertising and marketing campaigns kick into high gear and when details about some of the phone's features start trickling down to the agents, the launch date is getting close.

The launch isn't getting as much attention as the iPhone did - but there's clearly a lot at stake here for both Verizon - which is starting to feel the iPhone churn - and Research in Motion, which was outsold by Apple this most recent quarter.  Earlier this week, Verizon Wireless said it wasn’t worried about churn, but customer service folks, who seem to have a ready script to keep customers from jumping to AT&T and the iPhone,  telegraph a different story. Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan, senior editor David Grober and I called placed calls to Verizon - not as journalists but as legitimate customers - to dig up some details on the Storm.

My Verizon rep's best guess on the availability of the Storm was maybe 2-3 weeks, she said. Pushing further, I asked if early 2009 was a more realistic target. Her quick answer: "very unlikely." I even asked: "If you were a gambling type of gal, would you bet that it would be before Thanksgiving?" After a pause, she said yes.

David's rep gave a pretty clear "I have no idea," but added that it couldn't be soon enough. His rep offered to take down his name and number and call when the Storm becomes available. (You can also sign up for e-mail alerts.)

Larry's rep, on the other hand, wasn't making any promises or offering much hope of an upcoming announcement. "We don't have a date but it may not be available until Christmas," she said. She also noted Verizon’s LG Voyager experience last year, which seemed to slip. The rep remembered the Voyager rollout because a lot of folks ordered them for Christmas.

Of the three of us, he's the only one serious about staying with Verizon and getting the Storm (he's done with the Motorola Q, he said.) His contract is up in November so he would be free to pick another carrier - but he has no interest in an iPhone or an account with AT&T.

As for me, I'm even more undecided now than I was before. If you have strong thoughts on the iPhone, the Blackberry, AT&T or Verizon, I'd love to hear your reasons. Please take a minute to vote in this poll and maybe even share some of your thoughts in the Talkbacks.

[poll id=94]

Topics: Enterprise Software, Hardware, iPhone, Mobility, Software, AT&T, Verizon

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  • I always find this fascinating

    the mentality that you will wait for what might be rather than
    obtain what is.
    • Must Agree

      I think that waiting for something that "might be" generally leads to disappointment or purchase error (or both).

      I recently purchased an iPhone 3G after being on Verizon as well as Alltel (at various times). There's no doubt that the AT&T network isn't as solid as Alltel, much less both with the Verizon-Alltel merger coming up.

      However, I purchased the iPhone because it has strong development support (both in the form of Apple updates as well as in the App store), it is far more responsive than competing (i.e. Windows Mobile) devices, and it is roughly the same price in both plan and device. These are all things I know; searching the Internet also yields tons of information about the weakness of the iPhone software/hardware. I'm entering the market at a stage where we've had the second generation model, and where that model has been out on the market for a few months.

      I've never used any Blackberry, so I can't say I understand the appeal. But I would suggest that you make a decision based on what you know NOW, not what might happen. If you don't need a device for awhile, then just wait awhile. But don't make a judgment based on what might come down the pike (because we don't even know if the Storm will turn out to be a decent iPhone competitor)).
      • must agree

        I have to agree with the idea that the iPhone is not perfect, but it
        is a great phone, now. I too left verizon for the iPhone. Even paid
        ETF. Left a winmobile 5 device. There is no comparison. Also
        have a blackberry in the family. There is no comparison.

        I thought leaving verizon would be hard. Heard all sorts of horror
        stories about At&t. I heard the stories about dropped calls with the
        iPhone. None of this has been true for me. I have travelled quite a
        bit with the phone and have had very little trouble with anything.
        Compared to verizon, my phone performance has been great.
        Compared to my samsung PDA phone which listed for $700 when
        it came out, it is a masTerpiece. The bb pearl is very clunky and
        had to have one replaced because it flaked out.

        The iPhone is a great phone.
    • Actually, the mentallity is to...

      wait for what WILL be (suitable for your needs) rather than obtain what is (not suitable for your needs).
      • True, but...

        It seems like the blog is attempting to make a decision without waiting.

        If the iPhone isn't going to meet the needs of the purchaser, wait for something that does and then compare it (however long that takes).
      • The future is fluid

        You can never know what WILL be until it actually exists. There is
        no what WILL be, only what MAY be.
        • It already exists!

          Check out the online reviews already posted for the Blackberry Storm.
    • How logical of you

      I agree with you 100%.

      You essentially quoted Mr. Spock from the Original Star Trek episode "Amok Time" where he says to his would-be bride:

      "After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."
    • a bit two-dimensional?

      I find it fascinating that you can't understand the concept of the real-world comparison.

      Why would you purchase a device before trying out the alternative and comparing them(Obviously I'm referring to a device that is soon to be released, not something far-off)? When the Storm is released the user can test them both and determine which is best for his/her needs. The Storm bests the iPhone in several areas as does the iPhone to the Storm in others.

      What if the people that got the iPhone at launch hadn't waited, and purchased a Blackberry on AT&T because they listened to your logic? How fascinating would that be to be stuck in a one or two year contract with a phone you don't want?
    • What did you do with your old iPhone?

      Just wondering what you did with your old non-3G iPhone, or are you still using it? If you had only waited, the new phone is much better and cheaper to boot.
    • It is not the hardware, it is the coverage.

      We can discuss ad nauseam if the lack of wi-fi or the lack of embedded pictures in SMS really is a deal breaker. What it comes down to is service. Yes, I?m an AT& customer and have an iPhone, but not by choice. I had Verizon for five years prior to my two with AT&T and I can say, without hesitation, that the former is far superior when it comes to coverage, dropped calls and call quality. There is no contest if you, like me, travel all over the country. The Storm will also work on GSM for overseas travel. The iPhone is a fantastic piece of equipment with an intuitiveness that Microsoft based PDA phones could only dream about. But AT&T is the deal breaker. Why do I have AT&T? Ask the headquarter, i.e. my wife?
  • If Apple Wouldn't Be So Damn Restrictive

    Open up to other carriers and you might see total domination.
    • Totally Agree...I would have already switched

      I won't switch to AT&T though. No matter what. I'd love an Iphone but not on that network. Apple's restrictive agreement is one of the most idiotic I've seen in years.
      • Me 3

        While I have to admit the iPhone interests me, the
        exclusivity with AT&T and Apple's lock-down on apps
        have me holding out for another smart-phone(and yes, I
        know I can unlock/hack the iPhone to work on other GSM
        networks - it's a "principle" thing). Also understand
        that whatever I buy I tend to hack and write apps for
        myself. I'd rather not spend brain cycles on a closed
        system. I'll hold out for Android (and all the risks
        and rewards associated with living in a free and open
        • The exclusive contract

          The exclusive contract was setup because no other carrier would take the iPhone and let apple sell applications without going through their phone companies own services.
    • Why the exclusive agreement?

      Apple required several things of ATT that
      cost a bit. ATT had to upgrade their
      service to handle things like visual
      voicemail and also faced the monthly feels
      they paid to Apple. For that they required
      an exclusive deal. Any CEO (or armchair
      CEO) would have done the same.

      Things are changing though, as evidenced
      by multiple carrier deals in other
      countries. As soon as the exclusive deal
      is done Apple will open up the market to
      more carriers.

      As for me, ATT was my carrier before the
      iPhone was announced so I don't have a
      problem there.

      As for the competition, Apple's AppStore
      is going to be a problem for a long time
      to come. That may well be the differentiator for many people a few years
      down the road.
    • total domination

      It won't ever happen. It doesn't appeal to everyone.
    • They aren't restrictive... here

      In many countries there are a number of carriers with iPhone. It seems a shame that North Americans are saddled with AT&T.

      iPhone sales have been phenominal, middle management in the company (600+ employees) I work for have dropped their Blackberry and Windows Mobile devices and opted for iPhones almost exclusively by choice - and it's an otherwise almost exclusively Microsoft site.
      Fred Fredrickson
  • RE: A tough decision: Grab an iPhone or wait for the Storm?

    There is always the Bold that is going to be released on Nov. 4th from AT&T.

    It's a great phone. I have also heard rumors that the Storm will eventually be coming to AT&T. You could always but the Vodafone Storm and use it on AT&T, but you will only get Edge and not 3G
    Voltaic Shock
  • RE: A tough decision: Grab an iPhone or wait for the Storm?

    For me, it is between the storm, the the htc diamond pro. Which will come out around the same time as the storm. I am glad my contract expires Dec 8th. The world is my oyster, and I have the carriers available to prove it.