$180 BlackBerry Storm2 hits the shelves on Wednesday

Verizon, RIM say new SurePress touchscreen answers critics of original Storm

The BlackBerry Storm2 is slated to go on sale Wednesday online and at Verizon Wireless stores for $180, after a rebate and a new two year voice and data plan, Verizon and Research in Motion Ltd. announced today.

The companies confirmed that the new model includes new SurePress "clickable" display technology and built-in Wi-Fi capabilities. Some early reviewers lauded the upgrades, noting the touchscreen problems with the original Storm device.

One reviewer, Walter Mossberg in the Wall Street Journal, said he found "typing was much improved" with Storm2, though he added, "I doubt it will satisfy lovers of physical keyboards."

Customers buying the BlackBerry Tour at a Verizon store last July also reported concerns with the original Storm's touchscreen, and converted to a physical keyboard a result.

The Storm2 has a 3.25 inch display, with 3G connectivity that will allow phone calls in more than 220 countries and data access in more than 185 countries, the carrier said.

The device includes 2GB onboard storage and a microSD/SDHD memory card slot with a 16GB card included. The Storm2 also runs BlackBerry OS 5.0, which the companies said will provide typing accuracy improvements and more uses of animation.

There is a 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus and video recording ability. A removable, rechargeable battery is designed for 5.5 hours of talk time and 11.2 days of standby time.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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