We all knew it was approaching, but brace yourself, the Storm has made landfall. Tuesday night, Research In Motion and Verizon Wireless officially introduced the first touch-screen BlackBerry to the world: the RIM BlackBerry Storm.
Also known by its code name, BlackBerry Thunder, the Storm features a touch-sensitive display that's unlike that on any other touch-screen smartphone available today, thanks to RIM's own twist (more on this below). There are plenty of other highlights as well, including dual-mode functionality, support for Verizon's EV-DO Rev. A, integrated GPS, BlackBerry OS 4.7, and more.
Now, before you run out to the nearest Verizon store, we've got some bad news. Unfortunately, you won't be able to get your hands on the BlackBerry Storm quite yet (groan). A specific release date and pricing were not announced, but Verizon said the Storm would be out by the holiday season with "competitive" pricing. Obviously, we're not fans (and we're guessing you're not either) of such vague answers, especially in light of the RIM BlackBerry Bold delay.
RIM and Verizon did come by our office to give us a full rundown on the features, as well as some brief hands-on time with the device, so without further ado, here are all the details and our impressions of the RIM BlackBerry Storm.
Design Obviously, the touch screen is the biggest highlight of the BlackBerry Storm, but as we mentioned earlier, it's unlike any other touch-screen smartphone we've seen so far, including the Apple iPhone, T-Mobile G1, and Samsung Omnia.
Rather than provide haptic feedback (or none at all), RIM developed something completely new called ClickThrough, which consists of a suspension system that lies beneath the display, so that when you go to select an application or enter text, you actually push the screen down like you would any other tactile button.
Admittedly, it was a little weird when I first tried it. Given that with all other touch-screen devices, it's just a matter of lightly tapping on an icon or some similar action, it wasn't my first inclination to physically push down on the screen. My colleague Kent German also tried it out and had a similar reaction; while cool, the idea behind it took some explaining to fully realize the capabilities. Now, that's not to say we don't like ClickThrough; it just takes a little acclimation. Plus, it was responsive and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and accurate it was to compose messages and notes.
In terms of text extry, the BlackBerry Storm features a SureType keyboard when the smartphone is in portrait mode and then switches to a full QWERTY keyboard in landscape mode. The Storm has a built-in accelerometer so it will automatically rotate the screen depending on if the phone is held vertically or horizontally (left- and right-hand support included). The letter/number keys also glow blue when you're typing.… Read more