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A few seconds with the BlackBerry Storm

Tue, Nov 11, 2008

Tech


Tonight I had the unexpected treat of playing with the BlackBerry Storm! For those that don’t know, the Storm is BlackBerry’s yet-to-be-released iPhone competitor.

Sporting a 3.25″ screen (vs the iPhone’s 3.5″) that features their SurePress™ touch technology offering tactile feedback as you type, RIM is hoping this innovative addition to the BlackBerry line will captivate the corporate world while attracting the mainstream eye as well.

As for other features, the Storm features 3G capabilities, a GPS, accelerometer, 3.2 MP camera, 1GB internal memory, micro SD™ slot and application store not unlike Apple’s App Store. But all that stuff has been covered elsewhere.

The thing that stood out most for me was the fact that (according to my source at RIM), the Storm will not feature 3G GSM support - only over CDMA (mostly US carriers) and UMTS (Vodafone – UK). That means us Canadians that rely on GSM networks are stuck on EDGE. I find this intel conflicting given Telus & Bell are touting the phone’s 3G capabilities.

Even on the slower EDGE connection, I found the surfing experience on the Storm to be quite enjoyable. I access the same network with my SonyEricsson W600i (apples and oranges, I know) but I would rather walk 6 flights of stairs to look something up on my desktop than sit in my car and attempt it with that phone. The same cannot be said for the Storm.

As for the screen, I must say it is gorgeous; it boasts such a crisp, high contrast, beautiful image. While the underground parking lot did not provide the most ideal lighting, I was pretty surprised at the lack of fingerprints it seemed to collect. The screen’s Haptic technology (that “senses” the presence of your finger without any contact) made interacting with the device very seamless and natural feeling. I would find the absence of this technology a big drawback as I am used to the similar “digitizer” behaviour on my tablet pc.

The overall feel of the device is solid as all other BlackBerries I have held. The finish is up there with the Bold; RIM is proving that they too can make a svelte handset. Speaking of feel, the “clickable” screen is a really nice touch. Many have complained about the iPhone’s lack of tactile feedback when typing on glass rather than a physical keyboard – - this appears to be a great solution. It does take a few minutes to get used to the notion that you are “allowed” to press on the screen. This ultimately goes against everything we’ve been taught with computer screens, especially since LCDs hit the market. I presume that reservation will gradually fade as more devices such as the HP TouchSmart PC, touch based phones and Windows 7 enabled gadgets come to market.

All in all, I have to say I am pretty impressed with the Storm. Having seen both Storm and Bold, I personally think I would choose the former (I say this not yet having had a chance to see the HTC G1). Now if only there were a decent data plan available for us Canucks…

Sources indicate it should be available November 16th, at least in the US. Telus is supposed to have first dibs on the phone here in Canada with Bell and likely Rogers to follow.

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One Response to “A few seconds with the BlackBerry Storm”

  1. David says:

    I was in Taipei last week, and my TELUS Storm roamed onto a UMTS network – it does roam in 3G.

    Traveller

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