BlackBerry Storm sales should be strong, Verizon says

On sale Friday, the smart phone has a touch screen, other features expected to appeal to consumers, enterprise users (see video below)

1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3

Comparisons to Apple Inc.'s iPhone 3G will be inevitable, but Murphy cited three distinctions between the two devices. One is the Storm's SurePress touch-screen technology, which creates a slight movement in the glass screen so that the user can sense that he has touched the display; the iPhone doesn't have such tactile feedback, he said. Second, he pointed out that the Storm's battery is removable but the iPhone's is not; a removable battery is convenient for users who might want a second charged battery to replace the drained one.

Third, he noted that the Storm can be used on a variety of networks, including CDMA and EVDO Rev A in the U.S. and GSM abroad, giving users quick access to Vodafone networks in many countries. All told, the various radios will be supported for voice in 200 countries and data in 150 countries, Murphy said.

Storage onboard the device is 1GB, but the product will ship with an 8GB storage card as well.

Murphy downplayed the fact that the Storm doesn't have support for Wi-Fi, saying that Verizon believes the ubiquity of fast cellular networks will make up the difference. Using himself as an example of a typical business traveler, Murphy said he gets by with an air card over a cellular network on his laptop and a BlackBerry Curve that also operates over cellular. He said he hasn't bothered to use a Wi-Fi hot spot for almost two years.

Some critics disagree with Verizon's view on Wi-Fi support and note that rival AT&T Mobility aims to support both Wi-Fi hot spots (for indoor usage) and fast cellular networks.

Murphy conceded that some users might never get used to a touch screen, especially when it comes to typing e-mail messages. Similar concerns have been aired by a small number of iPhone users. But Verizon sells about 50 different models of cell phones and smart phones, nearly all of which have keypads for typing, he noted.

For example, Verizon also offers the LG Voyager, which has both an external touch screen and a flip-open keypad. It sells for $150 after a $50 mail-in rebate -- that's $50 less than the Storm. (Editor's note: This model was originally identified as the LG Dare. That has since been corrected.)

As with most cell phones and smart phones, buyers will evaluate the total cost of ownership, which includes subscription fees for monthly data and voice plans. Verizon is requiring a new two-year contract for the Storm, which starts at $40 a month for 450 minutes of voice service; an e-mail and Web BlackBerry plan carries an additional starting price of $30 a month. Data-only service would cost $50 a month for unlimited personal e-mail and Internet access.

1 2 3 Page 2
Page 2 of 3
  
Shop Tech Products at Amazon