Blackberry Storm set for lift-off?

Updated: Does Verizon Wireless finally have a date to roll out the Blackberry Storm?In a conversation with Verizon's helpdesk on an unrelated issue, a customer rep spilled the beans that the release date is Nov.

Updated: Does Verizon Wireless finally have a date to roll out the Blackberry Storm?

In a conversation with Verizon's helpdesk on an unrelated issue, a customer rep spilled the beans that the release date is Nov. 17. Here's what we've heard so far:

  • Verizon Wireless has completed training with its tech support staff;
  • The company is planning to make the Storm available next Monday;
  • And there is a little bit of pent-up demand from folks with expiring contracts and crappy smartphones (that would be me and my Motorola Q).

There may be a few caveats here as the customer service rep may be misinformed, but given that Verizon Wireless is upping its marketing for the Storm, chances are strong that Nov. 17 is a solid launch date. A Verizon Wireless spokesman wouldn't confirm or deny the date, but the company has been busy touting the Storm all through New York's Penn Station. "Coming soon" ads for the Storm are blaring as you enter the station.

Update:  Boy Genius Report has the Storm landing for select customers on Nov. 20. All customers can get one on Nov. 24.

The last time we checked in on this launch date Sam Diaz detailed his decision process between the iPhone vs. the Storm. Readers - as well as Verizon Wireless customer service reps - talked him into waiting long enough to give the Storm a chance.

While the Storm may persuade Sam to not jump, the timing of the latest Blackberry is crucial for Verizon Wireless and Research in Motion. The latter is being thumped by the iPhone at least among consumers and the former doesn't want its churn rate to increase.

Update: According to various reports--all citing Howard's Forums--the Storm will go for $219.99 with a two-year contract.  That's an odd price, but it's in the ballpark to be competitive with the iPhone.