David Pogue: BlackBerry Storm 'by far the worst product RIM has ever produced'

David Pogue: BlackBerry Storm 'by far the worst product RIM has ever produced'

Summary: Harsh words from Mr. Pogue-O-Matic himself at the New York Times.


BlackBerry StormHarsh words from Mr. Pogue-O-Matic himself at the New York Times.

A letter from tech god David Pogue appeared yesterday that spelled out not why he had problems with the Storm's concept, clicky touch screen, speed, and bugs (which the company refused to acknowledge, he says). That's in his review.

Instead, it detailed the anger of the roughly 100 readers who wrote to say that they had bought the Storm and now regretted it.


A few select entries:

"It has been an absolute nightmare. As soon as I return to New York, I will take advantage of Verizon's 30-day return policy and get rid of this monstrosity."

"My Storm was like something from a Stephen King novel: possessed of its own mind. Touching or selecting on the screen highlighted something totally unrelated. The lag in switching from horizontal to vertical almost made it seem that the screen was deciding its own when to shift."

"Where do I begin? The address book is a joke. Can't go straight to any given letter, so must scroll all the way through every time. Everything's slow: Scrolling, screen rotating, selecting apps, search... everything. It has crashed several times just trying to play movies. When you press the screen, it jumps over and "clicks" the key next to what you wanted... this is maddeningly frustrating. The bottom line: BlackBerry has created the Zune of touchscreen phones."

...and the list goes on. Looks like the Storm has become a bit of a public relations nightmare, er, storm for RIM.

Pogue seems to have learned a lesson, too: That the new oppressed minority in town isn't Apple fanatics, it's BlackBerry fanatics.

For years, tech critics like me have occasionally endured abuse from the Cult of Mac. If you write anything that even hints at a less-than-perfect Apple effort (like my reviews of, for example, the original Apple TV, iMovie '08 or MobileMe), the backlash is swift, vitriolic and heated. We're talking insults, vulgarities and even threats. I've always thought that that vocal sub-population of Mac fans make up the world's most watchful, most hostile grass-roots lobbying arm.

But now I see that I was wrong. There's an even nastier one: the BlackBerry nuts.

What do you think, readers? Is the Storm really that despicable a device, or does it just fall short of high expectations?

And are you BlackBerry fans truly crazed? Tell us in TalkBack.

Topics: BlackBerry, Apple, Hardware, Mobility

Andrew Nusca

About Andrew Nusca

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. During his tenure, he was the editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation.

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  • Everybody is a fan...

    ...of something. BB users are probably no different than Apple users.

    The real question is... Is the Storm a piece of junk, rushed to market to battle the iPhone or are the complainers just 10x louder than those who are happy?
    • Well there are fans...

      ...and then there are rabid fans. I certainly wouldn't attack someone on behalf of my preferences.
    • I don't think its just loud complainers...

      It didn't take me more than 2 minutes with a demo unit in a store to see the problems that people are complaining about. Most notably the auto-rotation lagged so bad and happened with such slight turns that my short trial period was almost worthless. I have seen reviewers just doing a normal review...not trying to be hard on the phone...and it just crashed on them. On top of that when I finally held on in my hand it looked and felt rather cheap.

      I think RIM rushed it or really just took a shot in the wrong direction all together.
      • Cheap?

        It feels solid. It's got good weight and industrial design that gives it a nice polish. Cheap are the all plastic devices. The recent lineup of BB are all quite slick.
    • I got a Curve

      The Storm wasn't even out yet and staff at the phone store were gooing about it and suggesting I might want to wait. But I've had so many bad experiences with Gen I technology, opted for the best of the tested models.

      Didn't think I'd enjoy having a B'berry as much as it turned out. It's pretty cool. We can pin text, files and voice messages, which I like better than push-to-talk because it doesn't interrupt what you're doing.

      And since we don't have cell service out where I live, it's not the electronic leash or addiction it is for a lot of people.
  • RE: David Pogue: BlackBerry Storm 'by far the worst product RIM has ever produced'

    I think, as a proud Zuner, I take exception to the "Zune of touchscreen phones" comment.
    • Fellow Zuner

      I'd haveta agree... while I've never played with this phone, I'd have to say that if it was the Zune of Touchscreen Phones, I'd buy one in a heartbeat...
    • Don't let it get to you

      Pogue = once a fanboy, always a fanboy

      Zune is a fine platform.
  • RE: David Pogue: BlackBerry Storm 'by far the worst product RIM has ever produced'

    What is the number of happy Storm users? The article only mentions the 100 fans that were unhappy. If the total sales is 500 that is not a good number. If the sales is over 1 million well that isn't a bad number at all.
  • RE: David Pogue: BlackBerry Storm 'by far the worst product RIM has ever produced'

    In my opinion, if I was to bash RIM, Verizon Wireless, and the Storm (which I'm not as I had mine in hand on Nov 24th making me an early adopter - more in a minute), my complaint would be as voiced by others that this product did come out too quick based on the quirks it has, meaning the importance of sales/holidays trumped the testing time.
    But, I love my Storm. I'm still on .65 until I get home tonight and upgrade with the official release as I didn't trust upgrading with the leaked version. I'm a techie and understand that a new technology for any company will have it's issues, and as an early adopter I was expecting them. I've been frustrated by the lag of portrait to landscape, and I'm sure not used to tapping emails yet, although I was never a wiz to begin with. I had a couple of random reboots and have pulled the battery several times. But in my eyes, I knew over the next several months upgrades would come and fix many of the quirks. I made the decision not to wait for who knows how long for a Gen2 release - I wanted the Storm now, and I have it. I find it a fun piece of technology that still holds the core of what I want a BlackBerry for - email handling. I pay for visual voicemail which is a plus. And the Storm renders web pages way better than the Pearl I just gave my wife.
    Reading all of the "early" reviews of the Storm shows me how people in general are in this fast paced world - impatient. If you knew anything about technology, and I'm no genious, you had to know it wouldn't be perfect. Yes it's less than the less than perfect I was expecting, but it's the business decision of RIM/VZW to get it to market a little too fast (hey, only 1+ weeks and an update) that has caused the grief. But to me, it's the consumer that's really causing the grief - too quick to judge, no patience, living by the theory (in tune with slamming a fist to the table) that I must get what I paid for. I've never purchased a 1st year car. THis isn't just a new BlackBerry model - it's a new technology for BlackBerry which to me makes it liek purchasing a 1st model year car - chances greater that there are problems. I feel I understand that and believe a lot of poeple now bashing the Storm only a couple of weeks into its release just don't get it.
    • Pogue's right, BB nuts sound like fanbois.

      MetalMan, your post is archetypal apologist, and whether
      it's for RIM or Apple missteps excuse-making for
      Corporations is still silly. Consumers have every right to
      expect that products work well when they're released-
      version 1.0 or not. The manufacturers/carriers are certainly
      able to rush products to release, but if they put out
      something half-baked to the public, they should be
      prepared to take their lumps. MobileMe was clearly rushed
      to "sync-up" (Ha!) with the release of the 3G and Apple got
      skewered for it. Now RIM is getting a taste of the same
      medicine. Guys like Pogue who put products' shortcomings
      up for public display are ensuring that release versions
      aren't glorified betas. More power to him!
      • I don't believe I am a fanboy (of anything for that matter)

        Matthew - I know what you mean, but it's very difficult to type my feelings on this subject in a short space. I'm not defending RIM/VZW, and I am blaming them for playing the game of business (sales/holiday etc)before thinking of the consumer first. But then again, it's their problem that they took a financial risk by letting out a piece of technology that wasn't ready for prime time - the feedback/fallout could potentially cause RIM some long term problems if in fact people see the Storm as a BlackBerry backstep as opposed to the Bold which people seem to be raving about. Its my opinion that the Storm doesn't feel bad enough to be considered a "glorified beta", but that's just one mans opinion. I just have patience, but also realize I have a 30-day window before I have a return problem. If I get to day 28 and software releases haven't made a marked improvement on the Storm, then maybe I will have to decide whether I keep it or not.
        • While I completely understand your position...

          ...you have to understand that the knowledge some people might have that a new piece of high end hardware may be subject to some glitch's, even some nasty glitches, and that those glitches have a high potential to be fixed over time, allows for people with that understanding of the market to make an informed purchasing decision...that is not the understanding of the vast majority of the public.

          You have to keep in mind at all times, a company like RIM has similar market place interests as most companies, and that usually means selling as much product as you can to the public, not just selling a new product only to those who are well informed about the nature of new high tech products. And that also means companies are not about to put out any warnings that any such new product may be subject to such glitches, the average purchasers are not used to that kind of thing and have no use for glitches.

          Always keep in mind that the general public has one major interest in purchasing new tech. That is to get plug and play ease of use that will supply functionality at a good price. Think about it. Its what makes Windows so popular still today. If you don't like Windows, fine, but its not because its difficult to use or it refuses to obey simple commands or balks at working with previous or future programs.

          Again, keep in mind that technology has been around a long time now, its been a long time since we had to rub sticks together to to make fire, and shove a stick through a hunk of meat to hold it over a fire for dinner. The general public these days in no way expects to purchase a toaster, a clock radio or a high end LCD TV or a cell phone and expect that they are going to have to hang tough with some nasty glitch's in the hardware until some updates come along to straighten out the mess. Its just not acceptable to the general public, and thats who these products are targeted at, so in the end its RIMS error.

          Either that or they should make it plain with a disclaimer such as:

          "This product may only be for suitable use by enthusiasts, experts and/or those with a significant amounts of patience due to the fact that significant deficiencies in expected performance may exist as compared to similar type products; due to new designs and technological implementations that may require at least one or more updates before expected performance capacities are achievable. This in no way implies or guarantees that any real or perceived deficiency in performance may ever be fully or partially corrected by future updates".

          I know thats silly, but its what the general public expects, so to deliver less without warning is for a company to move into that territory at their own risk.
      • Gotta agree w/ Matt on this one

        If people are handing over dollars that are fully functional, then the product they receive in return should be, too. If a company is really going to release a product before it is fully dialed-in, then discount it and warn people as such. Then at least the expectations are all on the table for people to evaluate and choose as they wish.
    • Response to MetalManCPA

      Thank you, Sir, for your honest review. I've had my Storm for less than a week and am confused with it, but have never had a smart phone before, so there will be a huge learning curve. I work in IT and know the necessity of patience with new technology. The patch fixed a lot of the initial problems I had with the phone.

      I am going to give RIM a chance to make this work.
  • David Pogue loves Apple kit so his comments

    on other manufacturers hardware are as trustworthy as a Independent Microsoft Report.
    The iPhone will only grow up when it can do teh basics like cut and paste.
    • Ever seen the iPogue music video

      where he makes virtual love to his iPhone?

      Yeah, unbiased "tech god", for sure.
      • He may be a fanboi, however...

        ...the views are valid. The Storm has a number of launch issues.
        Sleeper Service
        • No device is perfect.

          And he's on record for apologizing for Apple's launch issues while slamming RIM for theirs

          He's just not impartial, see:

          • Pogue is a Shill, whats new

            That's the thing though. Everyone who hasn't gotten an
            iLobotomy knows this.

            He's a shill and rabid apple apologists run to defend
            him because they still think the rest of us haven't
            caught on to the stench.