The original BlackBerry Storm failed to sweep through the smartphone sector in the way RIM had hoped it would, criticized for its frustrating SurePress touchscreen technology, glitchy firmware and - most damningly - not being all that hot at messaging. With the BlackBerry Storm2 9550, RIM claim to have not only addressed all of those elements but more, and so it's with the mildest of trepidation that we've been playing with the new smartphone. Breath of fresh air or an ill wind that blows no good? Read on for the SlashGear review.
There's not just a new OS for the Verizon BlackBerry Storm today, but official word on when the touchscreen smartphone's successor will arrive on shelves. This coming Wednesday, October 28th, will mark the Verizon BlackBerry Storm2's arrival, with the handset priced at $179.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate and assuming a new, two-year agreement.
Your hard-earned dollars get you a 3.25-inch 480 x 360 capacitive touchscreen with the latest iteration of RIM's SurePress technology, both EVDO Rev.A and UMTS/HSPA 2100 (the latter for travelling), and WiFi b/g, along with OS 5.0 and a total of 18GB of storage (2GB internal; 16GB via included microSD card). Around the back there's a 3.2-megapixel autofocus camera with image stabilization and flash, and a 1,400mAh replaceable battery good, Verizon claim, for up to 5.5hrs talktime or 11.2 days standby.
The long-awaited firmware update for the original Verizon BlackBerry Storm 9530 has arrived, and OS 5.0 brings with it the promise of greater stability, new flick-gestures in the Storm's browser, and other usability tweaks. Early user feedback suggests that the new software makes the Storm a whole lot more usable, with noticeably reduced delay between application changes.
Despite the fact that Verizon's CEO has admitted to flaunting a BlackBerry Storm2 and Walt Mossberg has reviewed the CDMA handset, RIM have made no official statement about the second-gen touchscreen smartphone heading to the US carrier. It seems the website team responsible for Verizon's pages haven't been so cautious, however; a 3D handset viewer is just one of the pre-announcement Storm2 tidbits available to play with already.
When Blackberry first unveiled its touchscreen only Storm it was hard to get away from the ads and commercials showing the new device off. Once the reviews came out and people realized that the Storm was one of the worst Blackberry devices ever, those who purchased were left with a handset that wasn't up to the typical Blackberry standards.
Mobile internet sharing looks to be one of the key sales messages for smartphones over the next few months; we've already heard HTC talking up their connection sharing app on the HD2, and now Verizon are tipped to be promoting MiFi action on the upcoming BlackBerry Storm2. According to a leaked marketing page from the CDMA carrier, the "Totally New Storm2" would launch on October 21st with "MiFi capability"; however that date was later retracted.
It's beginning to get a little ridiculous now: after Walt Mossberg reviews the BlackBerry Storm 2 ahead of any official confirmation by RIM themselves that the device actually exists, now Vodafone UK have announced that they'll be the first network to offer the second-generation touchscreen smartphone. Available to preorder from today, and with deliveries set to begin on October 26th, the Vodafone Blackberry Storm 2 9520 is priced from free with a new plan costing £35/mo ($56) upwards.
We'll let you into a secret: embargoes are the janky, frustrating glue that keeps the tech business rolling, and it doesn't take much to bring everything crashing down. Someone has obviously been fiddling with Walt Mossberg's clocks, as the AllThingsD writer and generally bearded-lovely has pushed out his review of not only the Motorola CLIQ - you can read our opinion on that phone here - but of the BlackBerry Storm 2.
The review comes on the heels of Verizon's CEO scooping RIM to their own Storm 2 announcement, as we discovered yesterday. There's no way of knowing exactly whether Mossberg had special dispensation to publish early - it wouldn't be the first time he's had privileged access ahead of everyone else - but since we're still hungry for Storm 2 details we'll forgive him anyway.
If the previews, demos and leaks weren't enough to convince you that RIM have a BlackBerry Storm 2 on the way, how about outright confirmation from Lowell C. McAdam, CEO of Verizon. The exec has revealed that he's been carrying the Storm 2 for the past few weeks, including giving impromptu demonstrations of the second-gen touchscreen smartphone at Verizon stores.