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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

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October 8, 2008 9:57 AM

BlackBerry's new hit: The Storm amid the storm

Posted by Brier Dudley

A few pictures of the sweet new BlackBerry Storm with a "clickable" touchscreen that provides sensory feedback when you type, uses multitouch and recognizes gestures. It also has a full HTML browser, and of course it takes advantage of Verizon's 3G network. It comes with 9 gigs of memory -- 1 gig onboard, plus an 8 gig card -- and a 3.2 megapixel still and video camera.

Tougher times for the iPhone's enterprise push, not to mention the G1's debut.

BB_Storm_Front_Left.jpg

BB_Storm_Front_Portrait.jpg

Some early reviews:

Engadget loved it:

Like we said before, RIM didn't want to reinvent the wheel here, and didn't. In fact, almost the entire interface -- besides the recent aesthetic overhaul enjoyed by both the Bold and the Storm, which brought much needed perks like readable fonts and a modicum of glamor -- is standard BlackBerry. That means the standard, business-friendly strengths of RIM remain intact, while some of the long-standing interface annoyances (like incessant scrolling) can be overcome with a simple tap or click of the touchscreen.

But the true test of any touch-based phone is typing, and we won't hold any punches here: we're in love.

Gizmodo was impressed, as well:

The very first time you touch the BlackBerry Storm -- RIM's first all-touchscreen keyboard-free smartphone, just announced for Verizon Wireless - you will be startled. No matter how many times your fingers dance on the screen like you've been trained on every other touchscreen, nothing will happen. At least, not until you push the screen all the way down and you feel a click. Yes, the screen is a giant button, one you have to punch for basically every action, even every letter you type, completely breaking the touchscreen paradigm. Surprisingly, it works.... OK, maybe there never will be an "iPhone killer" -- it's a stupid idea anyway -- but based on our limited time with the BlackBerry Storm, it seems like it will definitely hold its own against every other marquee handset on the market.

Verizon's the sole source in the U.S. The feature list from the press release, including all the marketing speak:

-- BlackBerry Internet Service, BlackBerry Unite!, BlackBerry Professional Software and BlackBerry Enterprise Server support
-- Preloaded DataViz Documents to Go allows users to edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files directly on the handset
-- 3.2 megapixel camera, with variable zoom, auto focus, and a powerful flash that also provides continuous lighting when recording video
-- Built-in GPS supports location-based applications and services, as well as geotagging of photos
-- 1 GB of on board memory storage and 8 GB microSD memory card included in the expandable memory card slot
-- Media player that can play movies smoothly in full screen mode, display pictures and slideshows quickly and manage an entire music collection; playlists can be created directly on the handset and there's an equalizer with 11 preset filters -- including "Lounge", "Jazz" and "Hip Hop" -- for customized audio ranges when using wired headphones or external speakers
-- A 3.5 mm stereo headset jack, support for Bluetooth stereo audio profile (A2DP/AVRCP) and dedicated volume controls
-- Sleek, elegant design with contoured corners, stainless steel back and chrome accents surrounding its large (3.25") glass lens; its exceptional 480 x 360 resolution at 184 ppi is crisp and bright with eye pleasing clarity
-- An ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts backlighting for ideal screen viewing and an accelerometer that allows customers to view applications in either portrait or landscape mode by simply rotating the handset
-- Removable and rechargeable 1400 mAhr battery that provides approximately 6 hours of talk time on 3G networks and 15 days of standby time.

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Gadgets and games | Fun stuff I've written about lately includes Apple's iPhone, Hewlett-Packard's HDX laptop and Microsoft's Halo3. Also on the radar are new digital video boxes such as the Tivo HD and the Vudu.