Verizon has just begun offering the BlackBerry Storm2, RIM’s latest touchscreen-oriented smartphone. Its predecessor had a rocky start last year — the next couple of weeks will show if things will be different the second time around.
The original Storm launched last fall with great fanfare, but it was widely criticized for being slow and hampered with bugs. Many also decried the lack of Wi-Fi.
Aside from a few changes in the trim, the new model has not been radically re-designed. Like its predecessor, it has a 3.2-inch, 480-by-360-pixel display. It is exactly the same size as the previous model, and weighs just slightly more.
The original version of this smartphone used a system in which the entire screen moves slightly on a pivot point when an on-screen button is pushed. This set up wasn’t popular, and has been modified in the Storm2. The screen still moves slightly when pressed on, but on several activators behind the display. In addition, the buttons on the front are now part of the touchscreen.
The first BlackBerry Storm had support for mobile broadband but not Wi-Fi. The follow-up model remedies this, and includes both Verizon’s EV-DO Rev. A and Wi-Fi.
BlackBerry OS 5.0
This smartphone ships with BlackBerry OS 5.0, and is bundled with a suite of productivity and entertainment applications. Naturally, this includes RIM’s Push e-mail system, a web browser, and video and music apps.
Owners of the first-generation Storm don’t have to buy a new device to get the latest version of this operating system; an OS upgrade for last-year’s model was released yesterday.
More BlackBerry Storm2 Features
This is a world phone, with support for both CDMA networks and GSM ones when roaming outside of the U.S., including the 3G standard HSDPA.
The Storm2 also includes 2 GB of internal storage, while its predecessor has just 1 GB. It also has a microSD card slot.
Pricing & Availability
The BlackBerry Storm2 is available now on Verizon’s website.
It is selling for $180 with a two-year contract and $100 mail-in rebate. The original Storm cost 10% more at launch: $200 with contract and MIR.
Those who are look for less of a commitment have other options. This smartphone is available for $250 with a one-year contract or $440 without a contract. Both these prices require a $100 mail-in rebate.