Research In Motion has announced the release later this month of the BlackBerry Storm 2, the second touchscreen smartphone to be introduced by the Canadian manufacturer.
Like its predecessor, the Storm, the new device has a clickable touchscreen. However, the mechanics of the screen have been redesigned to overcome some of the major flaws of the first iteration — namely the noticeable gap around the screen and the user's inability to press more than one virtual button at a time.
The Storm 2 will be available from 26 October, initially as a Vodafone exclusive. The handset will be free from £35 per month on a 24-month contract.
The SurePress screen on the first BlackBerry Storm had a central pivot under it, making the screen very slightly convex and producing a tactile click when pressed. However, that design made it impossible to type quickly on the virtual keyboard, because the screen needed to bounce up again from each press before the next character could be typed.
The new version of SurePress, as implemented on the Storm 2, does away with the central pivot, replacing it with four electromechanical actuators that are controlled by the phone's software.
This makes it possible to press more than one character at a time — so, for example, the shift key can be pressed at the same time as a letter key. Tactile feedback can be felt for both presses.
The Storm 2's screen measures 3.25 inches and has a resolution of 360 x 480 pixels.
The brushed steel battery cover is one of several design changes made since the first version of RIM's touchscreen BlackBerry.
The Storm 2 has a 1,400 mAh battery, which RIM claims will provide around six hours of talk time on a 3G network, and around 280 hours of standby time.
The handset has a 3.2-megapixel autofocus, video-capable camera that is accompanied by a flash.
Another design change since the first Storm can be found in the 3.5mm headphone jack, which no longer protrudes from the handset.
The Storm 2 measures 112.5mm x 62mm x 13.9mm, and weighs 160g — slightly heavier than the first Storm, which weighed 155g.
The Storm 2 has Wi-Fi connectivity, unlike its predecessor.
The handset also has 3G and GPS, as well as 256MB of flash memory, 2GB of inbuilt storage and the ability to take microSD cards for expandable storage.