BlackBerry Storm vs. iPhone: FIGHT!

In Friday's IT Blogwatch, Richi Jennings watches the reviews of the new BlackBerry Storm, and the "inevitable" iPhone comparisons. Not to mention Somalia...

Matt Hamblen reports:

BlackBerry Bold
Despite the sluggish economy, Verizon Wireless Inc. predicts that sales of the BlackBerry Storm will be strong. The device goes on sale Friday for $200 after rebate ... has features that will appeal to both consumers and large business users ... e-mail and messaging capabilities using a touch-screen keypad in both portrait and landscape views -- capabilities made possible by an accelerometer ... GPS capabilities, including voice-activated driving directions and mapping ... uses the familiar BlackBerry Enterprise Server, which provides management and security functions, including the ability to remotely wipe data off a lost machine.

...

The Storm is 4.4 by 2.4 by 0.55 inches in size, and it weighs 5.46 oz. It has a 3.2-megapixel camera that can be used to record still images and video. The removable and rechargeable lithium-cell battery provides six hours of talk time and 15 days of standby time. The device also supports Bluetooth 2.0 ... 3.25 in., 480- by 360-pixel display ... 3.5mm headphone jack.

...

Comparisons to Apple Inc.'s iPhone 3G will be inevitable.
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So, Joshua Topolsky bows to the inevitable:

The Storm ... adds innovations like a clickable display, and comes packed with RIM's legendary email and messaging services. Mainlined into the biggest (and some say best) network in the States, the Storm is an almost deafening blast to the [iPhone] at first glance.

...

The Storm is a striking device. From the second you lay eyes on it, it's clear that a lot of time and care went into crafting this phone ... communicates an understated class ... The touchscreen is where most of the attention on this phone will be focused ... utilizes a completely unique "click" technology called SurePress which actually allows you to click the screen down like a mouse button.

...

[But] the operating system used on this phone is almost identical to previous BlackBerry OSs ... the company has added touch and multitouch functionality to take the place of trackball movements ... not custom built for touch navigation ... the feeling is that you're never completely in charge of the phone ... we were constantly frustrated by the staggering, laggy movement when trying to type with any speed.
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But Matt Buchanan is less impressed:

It's hard to overstate how important the BlackBerry Storm is to RIM and Verizon. It's RIM's bold effort to fend off the iPhone and Verizon's best hope for a star handset that draws people in, or at least keeps them from bailing ... It's good—RIM clearly put a lot of thought into the design. But I think it fall short of what they were aiming for, and ultimately what all the hype is driving people to expect.

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It's surprisingly heavy ... It feels thick, too, thicker than it actually is, because of its squarish shape ... On the other hand though, all this substance also makes the Storm feel really robust ... No Wi-Fi is a bummer, even with Verizon's fantastic 3G network, 'cause not even it penetrates everywhere.

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The Storm needed a little bit longer in the oven—I had lotsa lock-ups and crashes over the last two days with it. Lag was all over the place, which is a cardinal sin with a touch-based UI. It really needs to be more stable. I wonder how long before there's a software update, 'cause it needs one badly.
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James "jk" Kendrick runs with it:

We've seen a good run on hot smartphones being released since the iPhone 3G. The T-Mobile G1 was introduced recently as the first Android-based smartphone and RIM has been releasing Blackberry models every few days, at least that's what it seems like. One of the most anxiously awaited smartphones is the Blackberry Storm as it takes a path RIM has never taken before, and that's to shed the physical keyboard.

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Quad-band: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE; Single-band: 2100 MHz UMTS/HSPA; Dual-band: 800/1900 Mhz CDMA/ EVDO Rev A ... Wow, that's about everything and as you can see the Storm is packed with just about everything you can put in a phone with the exception of WiFi. Yes, there is no WiFi in the Storm, a fact that will turn off some folks who depend on WiFi for data connection ... surprising to find that Verizon is touting right in the box that the Storm can be used with DUN to tether to a laptop to provide 3G connectivity.

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We've only had the Storm in hand for a few hours but so far it's easy to state that the Storm is the best Blackberry we have used to date ... gotta have a Crackberry fix, you know.
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S.E. Kramer agrees:

The Storm isn't just some wanna-be, rip-off iPhone. At its core, it's just like every other BlackBerry. This will be important for business clients.

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Instead of comparing the Storm to the iPhone and whining grumpilly about the Storm's lack of multi-touch, consumers will compare it to other BlackBerries. And when they do, they may find that they like what they see: A big, fun to use touchscreen, a 3.2MP camera that takes video and has a bright flash, a respectable Web browser and a typing system that really works.
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Kevin Michaluk videos the obligatory unboxing:

w00t! It has happened!! I flew down to NYC to pick up my Storm in person, and as I post this, just landed at home a few hours ago ... we have the Verizon BlackBerry Storm Unboxing, both with video and photos. We even throw a quick side by side comparison of the Storm to the Curve 8900 in there.

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I know video unboxings are a little pointless to some of you, but for a much-anticipated device like the Verizon BlackBerry Storm it seems completely necessary.
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Meanwhile, Tom Reestman counts the pennies:

Everyone talks about it costing $200 in the U.S. with a two-year Verizon contract, but the real cost is $250. That’s what they’ll take from you, that’s what you’ll see coming out of your bank account, and that’s what’s gonna be on your receipt. Afterwards, if you tackle the paperwork and wait a month or two, they’ll send you a $50 debit card in the mail.

Data/Voice plans appear on a par with AT&T and others (around $70/month), but keep in mind the visual voice mail Verizon offers is an additional $3 a month. Turn by turn directions are available, but that’s another $10 a month.
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And finally...

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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 23 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him on Twitter, pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email: blogwatch@richi.co.uk.

Previously in IT Blogwatch:

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
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