Research in Motion's long-rumored BlackBerry Storm2 touchscreen smartphone finally made its first official showing today in a review, and the device looks like it's going to finally remedy all the first-gen problems of the original Storm.
Unfortunately, those fixes don't seem to make the device more competitive against the competition -- just its former self.
Wall Street Journal technologist Walt Mossberg writes today that the Storm2 "fixes all those flaws" of the original, swapping mechanical for electronic touch feedback, improving the keyboard and adding Wi-Fi, all while preserving the dimensions of the original.
The problem? The following:
The browser is still inferior to Apple’s, Google’s and Palm’s. And the traditional BlackBerry interface cries out for a major overhaul in a touch device like this, especially when you add a lot of apps. RIM’s menu and folder metaphor seems tired on this device.
Since a browser is one window to the smartphone world -- the others are apps and widgets, unsuccessful and nonexistent on the Storm2, respectively -- that's a big impediment to making BlackBerrys appeal to the rest of the smartphone crowd.
It looks like RIM is rushing to catch up to the present, rather than looking at the future. As a leading company in a hot and growing industry, it's never good to be caught on your heels in the product development cycle.
The Storm2 is expected to arrive in November on Verizon for about $199.