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8/28/2008
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Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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The Touchscreen BlackBerry Storm Emerges

The BlackBerry Bold may have been released up in Canada last week, but it's the Storm that is really set to rock the smartphone boat. RIM's touchscreen darling is headed to Verizon Wireless in the very near future as a global device.

The BlackBerry Bold may have been released up in Canada last week, but it's the Storm that is really set to rock the smartphone boat. RIM's touchscreen darling is headed to Verizon Wireless in the very near future as a global device.Ah, the Internet. Where else could bloggers stumble upon renders of packaging for an upcoming device? That's just what Engadget did. It found a mock-up of the box that the BlackBerry 9530 Storm will be shipped in.

The Storm -- previously known as the Thunder -- is the long-rumored touchscreen device from Research In Motion. RIM's forthcoming Bold looks to be a powerful option for the enterprise user with its full QWERTY keyboard, but the Storm nixes that quintessential BlackBerry feature. Users will access the phone's systems via a touchscreen instead. Right now, pretty much nothing is known about how the BlackBerry OS will be adapted for use with touch.

Some scant other details are revealed by the packaging. It will be a global phone, meaning it will have both CDMA and GSM radios. This will let users of the Storm use Verizon's CDMA network here in the U.S., and roam on GSM networks in Europe and other regions. Verizon already offers a similar BlackBerry 8800 series World Phone.

Apparently it will be packaged with an 8GB SanDisk microSD card, which is a nice gesture. 8GB has become the de facto storage capacity for media-focused phones. The iPhone has an 8GB model, the Nokia N95 comes in an 8GB model, and other devices do, as well. The inclusion of such a card suggests that the Storm could have some powerful multimedia features.

Other details show that it will have a 3.5mm headset jack, which fits regular stereo headphones. The real killer is that it appears to leave out Wi-Fi, which is inexcusable for a modern smartphone.

Of course, the render seen by Engadget could have been a draft, and not all phone packaging lists every single feature of the phone inside.

What I really want to know is how RIM will tackle the lack of a keyboard. How well will the touchscreen work? Will users have to rotate it to use the screen? How responsive will the touch screen be? Many questions, few answers, more to come.

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