RIM Takes On iPhone With BlackBerry Storm

A boon for Verizon's customers, the device is the first touch-screen handset from RIM that sports a high-resolution screen, 3G connectivity, push corporate e-mail, and GPS.

BlackBerry Storm
(click image for larger view)

BlackBerry Storm
The BlackBerry Storm handset sports a high-res touch screen, 3G capabilities, GPS, multimedia functionality, and access to corporate e-mail.

Research In Motion is taking on Apple's iPhone 3G head on with the introduction of the touch-screen BlackBerry Storm.

The much-awaited smartphone sports many of the features of Apple's handsets, and even outshines it in certain categories. The touch-screen smartphone may give Verizon Wireless a legitimate rival to the iPhone 3G, and it may help stem the loss of subscribers to AT&T.

The Storm has 3.25-inch touch screen that has a 360 by 480 resolution. Like the iPhone, the Storm has support for multi-touch interface, but RIM's device will have haptic feedback for its virtual keyboard, and it will be capable of cut and paste. The keyboard will have RIM's SureType layout in portrait mode, and it will be a full QWERTY layout in landscape orientation.

The handset is still a BlackBerry, which means it has support for multiple e-mail accounts including Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino, Novell GroupWise, and various POP 3 providers. Additionally, the Storm has security features that may make it more enterprise-friendly than Apple's handset.

RIM's touch screen will be capable of using Verizon's EV-DO Rev. A networks for 3G connectivity. This can be used with the built-in RSS, to check e-mail, surf the Web with the full HTML browser, and to stream audio and video. Users will also be able to edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files directly on the handset.

The Storm is also capable of sending picture messages, will have built-in instant messengers, and will be preloaded with the Facebook for BlackBerry app. With a 3.2-megapixel camera capable of recording video, the Storm outclasses the iPhone's lens.

RIM has been increasingly going after the consumer market with devices like the BlackBerry Pearl Flip, and the inclusion of more "lifestyle" apps. The Storm continues that trend and it features robust multimedia capabilities, including the ability to sync songs from iTunes.

The Storm has GPS capabilities that can be used for route maps and text-based turn-by-turn directions. It will also have Bluetooth, and unlike Apple's handset, customers will be able to use stereo Bluetooth headsets with the Storm. Additionally, the Storm will have 1 GB of on-board memory, as well as a microSD slot capable of being expanded to 8 GB.

The Storm measures in at 4.4 inches by 2.4 inches by 0.5 inches, and weighs about 5.5 ounces. Verizon and RIM did not announce pricing or availability but the handset is expected out before the end of the year.

Editor's Choice
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Carlo Massimo, Political Reporter and Columnist
Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author