The long-awaited BlackBerry Storm is no longer only a rumor. The first BlackBerry with a touchscreen has just been officially announced.
For months the rumors have pointed to this smartphone coming first to Verizon Wireless, and this wireless carrier has indeed announced that it will soon begin offering the BlackBerry Storm 9530.
However, neither carrier is willing to say exactly when their respective debuts will be, or what they will charge for this smartphone.
BlackBerry Storm’s Hardware
The Storm will have a tablet shape with a 3.25-inch, 360-by-480-pixel display, with both landscape and portrait support. It won’t have a built-in keyboard, so all text will be entered on the display.
This display will support multi-touches, taps, slides and other gestures, allowing users to highlight, scroll, pan, and zoom. A built-in accelerometer will allow users to switch between modes by rotating the device.
In landscape mode users will enter text on the screen with a full keyboard, while they will use an on-screen SureType keyboard in portrait mode. Haptic feedback is included to make this process easier.
The Storm will have Bluetooth but there is no mention of Wi-Fi.
It will also have a GPS receiver and a 3.2 MPx camera with flash.
RIM says its 1400 mAh battery will provide approximately six hours of talk time on 3G networks or 15 days of standby time.
BlackBerry Storm’s Software
Naturally, RIM is emphasizing the email capabilities of this BlackBerry. It will support personal and corporate email and text (SMS), picture (MMS), and instant (IM) messaging.
For handling attachments, this smartphone will come with DataViz Documents to Go, which will let users edit Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files directly on the handset.
RIM is also pushing the Storm’s use as a music and video player. To store media files, this smartphone will sport 1 GB of internal storage and a microSD memory card slot. Users will have the option of connecting headphones via the 3.5 mm stereo headset jack or stereo Bluetooth (A2DP/AVRCP).
A high-performance web browser will work in either portrait or landscape mode. This will allow file downloading, streaming audio and video (RTSP), and RSS.
Vodafone vs. Verizon
At this point, Verizon Wireless is giving out almost no details on its version of the Storm. Still, the single page about this smartphone on its website mentions that it will have global capabilities. This is enough to confirm an earlier report that this device will offer support for Verizon’s CDMA network for use in the U.S., and also be able to connect to GSM networks when the user in in Europe, Asia, etc.
Update: Verizon has sent out an email announcing this device that says it will have EV-DO Rev. A, this carrier’s high-speed wireless network.
Vodafone’s version — the BlackBerry Storm 9500 — will offer the 3G standard HSPA, and will support tethering to provide Internet access to a laptop.
Vodafone has put together a video overview of this model:
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