Touchscreen BlackBerry Storm finally unveiled
Wed Oct 8, 2008 12:01AM EDT
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Buzz up!on Yahoo!After months of rumors, the Storm—the first-ever touchscreen BlackBerry—is finally official, and it's set for Verizon Wireless (exclusively, for now) later this fall. Read on for the details.
Verizon hasn't coughed up a hard-and-fast release date for the Storm—nor any pricing details, for that matter—but this much we do know: It'll pack in dual-mode CDMA and GSM radios for full-on world calling, 3G access (both EV-DO Rev. A and HSPA), GPS (along with turn-by-turn directions), Bluetooth (including the A2DP profile for stereo Bluetooth headsets), and a 3.2-megapixel camera with flash and autofocus.
Measuring 4.4 by 2.4 by 0.55 inches and weighing in at about 5.5 ounces, the Storm (which is also set to arrive in Europe through Vodafone) looks to be roughly the same size as an iPhone or the upcoming T-Mobile G1, so it should be reasonably pocketable.
The centerpiece, of course, will be the Storm's 480 by 360-pixel, 3.25-inch glass display, which will support multitouch (good for two-finger gestures, a la the iPhone). Even better, though, is a feature that RIM calls "ClickThrough": a design that lets you "distinctly feel the screen being pressed and released with a gentle click" for a "highly intuitive experience." Sounds promising, but whether the Storm's display actually delivers the tactile experience that's missing on the iPhone and the G1 remains to be seen (or felt, I guess); I look forward to trying it out in person. Update: Click here for initial ClickThrough impressions from the Web; so far, so good.
In addition to the multitouch display, the Storm will also come with an ambient light sensor, along with an accelerometer that'll automatically turn the screen when you hold the phone sideways. Speaking of which: When it comes to entering text, holding the Storm in a landscape view will give you a full QWERTY touch keypad, while in portrait mode you'll get a SureType keypad (or the same layout as on a BlackBerry Pearl).
Naturally, messaging will doubtless be one of the Storm's strong suits. Expect full-on BlackBerry e-mail support, complete with push e-mail and access to POP and IMAP e-mail servers. Also on board: SMS, picture and instant messaging.
The Storm will also come with full-on Office document editing—including support for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents—courtesy of DataViz Documents to Go. Of course, plenty of other BlackBerry applications are already available, and there's word that a branded BlackBerry store is on tap, similar to Apple's App Store and the Android Market.
Besides its 3.2MP camera, the Storm is set to arrive with full HTML Web browser (double-tap to zoom, tap and slide to scroll), a video and music player, with Verizon promising smooth, full-screen video playback. There's also a 3.5mm jack for your earphones, 1GB of internal storage, and a microSD expansion slot for another 16GB of flash memory.
All in all, sounds like a formidable package, although something's missing if you look carefully: Wi-Fi. Ugh.