CNET First Look
RIM BlackBerry Storm (Verizon Wireless)The anticipation has been brewing for months, but now the RIM BlackBerry Storm has finally made landfall. Does the first touch-screen BlackBerry live up to all the hype? We take a look.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:04 >> [Background music]Hi, this is Bonny Cha, Senior Editor at CNET.com and today I've got your first look at the Rim Blackberry Storm from Verizon Wireless. Now I know a lot of you have been waiting for the smart phone and it's finally here so let's get right into it. The Blackberry Storm is big news because it's the first touch screen Blackberry and it's not like any other touch screen phone out there. Research in motion development technology called sure press which uses 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 on any other tactile button. In terms of text entry, the Blackberry Storm features a sure tech keyboard when the smart phone is on portrait mode and then switches to a full qwerty keyboard in landscape mode. When using the keyboard or selecting applications you can do a simple finger touch over the item till it's highlighted and then you press down on the screen to register the action. For example, you can tap on the screen twice to zoom in on a webpage or a map. Or you can do quick finger swipes to scroll through webpages up and down, like that. While the sure press technology is cool it takes some acclimation. It's not a natural feeling to physically push down on the screen and I often found myself forgetting to actually press down on the screen and instead I was just tapping or double tapping on the letter button or the link. You do get used to it after a while but as far as email creation and text messages I did miss having a tactile keyboard. I couldn't comfortably type long messages as fast as I wanted and when I did I ended up with a lot of errors. So, if you're a heavy emailer the Storm may not be for you. Otherwise, the screen is really beautiful and sharp and there's a built in exceleramator [assumed spelling] so the screen will automatically switch from portrait or landscape mode when you rotate the phone. There are some navigations below the screen. You get talk and end keys, a menu button, and a clear button, but there's no trackball navigator and I actually really missed it. I think it would've been a nice addition to have just for easier one handed navigation and selecting certain items like hyperlinks on a webpage. As far as features, the Storm runs the latest version of the Blackberry operating system which is 4.7, includes an updated interface and documents to go standard edition for viewing and editing Word, Excel, and Power Point applications. Storm also has a link to that Blackberry application center, which is new. Hasn't officially launched but it will let you download more programs for your device. Currently there are just some basic applications like Yahoo Messenger and Flicker and Facebook. Of course you get full email support including Microsoft Exchange, Novell GroupWise, and POP and IMAP email access. The Blackberry Storm also offers dual mode functionality which means you'll be able to use the phone overseas. When you're making calls here in the States it will use Verizon CDMA network but when you travel internationally where they use the GSM band it'll automatically switch over and there's actually a SIM card included in the package so that's really nice. Blackberry Storm also has full 3G including EVIDEO [assumed spelling], REVA [assumed spelling], and HSGPA [assumed spelling] so you get faster download and upload speeds. Unfortunately there's no WIFI and I know people will think it's not necessary since there's 3G but I still like having that option, especially when you're not in a coverage area. Other goodies include GPS, 3.2 megapixel camera, and a pretty robust multi-media player with a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack, which we're always happy to see. Obviously, the Storm has a lot and it's a great value at $199 and $99 with a two year contract. Definitely gives iPhone a bit of a run for its money in terms of features but I think as far as ease of use and web browsing the iPhone still wins. So the Storm is very cool and offers pretty good performance and it will attract both consumers and mobile professionals. I think longtime Blackberry users will need a little bit of time to get used to the touch screen keyboard. [Background music] As I said before, this isn't going to be best device for people who email a lot for work and will probably be better suited with a Blackberry Bold or another qwerty smart phone. I'm Bonny Cha and this has been your first look at the RIM Blackberry Storm. ^M00:04:06 [ Music ]