updated 07:25 am EDT, Wed October 8, 2008
BlackBerry Storm at VZW
Verizon and RIM today at last formally introduced the American version of the BlackBerry Storm, RIM's first touchscreen phone and Verizon's most direct competitor to the iPhone. The handset centers on a 3.25-inch, 480x360 display which includes a unique physical "click" to partly recreate a physical button press. In Verizon guise, the smartphone is also special for its inclusion of both EVDO Revision A for cellular data as well as single-band HSPA, giving it 3G access on some networks outside of North America. Calling is also available on CDMA and quad-band GSM/EDGE.
The previously launched Vodafone version is focused only on international markets and supports just the GSM, EDGE and HSPA networking.
Software is also important to the Storm, the companies say. The interface is a modification of the latest BlackBerry OS and uses an accelerometer to allow full HTML browsing, media playback and messaging (including MMS) in either portrait or landscape views. In addition to BlackBerry push e-mail, the phone also carries Documents To Go for editing Microsoft Office documents and enables full Bluetooth with stereo audio versus the headset-only use of its Apple rival.
The Storm carries a 3.2-megapixel camera with autofocus and flash as well as GPS for navigation but lacks Wi-Fi. In exchange, a larger-than-usual 1,400mAh battery nets the device about six hours of 3G calling when on those networks. As with the Bold, only 1GB of optionally lockable storage is included but is compensated by a microSDHC card slot that currently holds up to 16GB of removable storage. The battery is also removable, RIM says.
Despite the long teaser campaign, Verizon still declines to provide release dates or pricing and says that these will be available in "coming weeks." Informal expectations have the phone launching in mid-November.