Storm Brewing for Verizon, Vodafone
The new BlackBerry Storm is RIM's answer to the 3G iPhone and comes hot on the heels of the 5800 XpressMusic phone that Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) unveiled last week, which means that Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) is no longer alone in the smartphone stakes. (See RIM's Touching New BlackBerry Plans, 8 Killer iPhone 3G Alternatives, and Nokia CEO: Go Long! Get Open!)
Vodafone will offer the BlackBerry Storm, which has a "clickable" touchscreen, in Europe, India, Australia, and New Zealand, while Verizon will offer the device in the U.S. Neither operator has so far released pricing details. (See Vodafone Launches Storm.)
RIM, which is targeting consumers and business users with the Storm, claims to set itself apart from other touch-screen interfaces with its new "clickable" technology, which is said to respond like a physical keyboard and supports single-touch, multi-touch, and gestures for navigating among applications.
For Verizon, the BlackBerry Storm 9530 supports 3G EV-DO Rev. A and CDMA, as well as 2.1 GHz HSPA and quad-band EDGE/GPRS/GSM for use outside the U.S. For Vodafone, the Storm 9500 supports 2.1 GHz 3G HSPA as well as quad-band EDGE/GPRS/GSM.
The new touch-screen Storm is the latest in a series of recent "firsts" for the Canadian device maker: In August, RIM introduced its first 3G phone, the BlackBerry Bold, and last month, it unveiled its first flip phone, the Pearl Flip. (See Canada Gets Bold, RIM Reveals the Pearl Flip, and RIM's Four Aces.)
RIM also unveiled today new application developer tools for the Storm, Bold, and Pearl Flip, including a new Java developer environment.
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung