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BlackBerry Storm finally official

Research in Motion finally unveiled its first touchscreen smartphone in a joint announcement confirming the phone's exclusive worldwide release through Vodafone.

(Credit: Research in Motion)

RIM together with Vodafone have finally made the BlackBerry Storm official.

The Storm moniker will apply to both the BlackBerry 9500 and 9530 devices, which are essentially the same, except that the 9530 is meant for Verizon in the US and has a CDMA/EV-DO radio, while the 9500 is for the rest of the world with UMTS/GSM connectivity.

The main difference between the Storm and earlier BlackBerry models is the lack of a physical keypad, instead relying on a 480x360 touchscreen for input. It's not quite the same as what we are used to on products like the iPhone or HTC Touch Diamond. This screen depresses slightly when you click on something, making it like one huge button so you get tactile feedback when selecting items.

Other features of the Storm include a 3.2-megapixel camera, 3.5mm audio jack, GPS for navigation and a microSD slot which supports up to 16GB cards. The only glaring absence is Wi-Fi, so users will have to depend on HSDPA or EV-DO for high-speed data transfers.

Information from Vodafone indicates that pricing and local availability are not available at this stage, and will be made public in individual regions closer to the Storm's actual release.