It’s freaking official, after the first announcement was made that the BlackBerry ‘Thunder’ was the new BlackBerry to compete with the iPhone, then months of waiting, then rumors that it was now called the ‘Storm’, it’s finally here, and every carrier everywhere seems to be getting them.
The shot you see above is from Canada’s Telus carrier, who is not the exclusive carrier in Canada, leading folks to believe Rogers might be also be releasing the device as well on their network there.
Vodafone is getting them in the UK, but goofed with their launch page and for the first few hours after the announcement all the mockups of the BlackBerry Storm on the Vodafone landing page for the device had Apple iPhone user-interface screenshots placed inside the BlackBerry Storm’s body:
Engadget also points out that the actual screens ripped off by the Vodafone art team in the shots above are from (left to right, top to bottom): Jailbroken iPhone, Cingular promotion pictures and BlackBerryNews.com.
Nice job Vodafone marketing team!
For the US readers, it looks like Verizon will be launching the device exclusively for $199 w/ 2-year contract. Some quick-specs are:
- 128MB of RAM, 1GB built-in memory
- Shipping with 8GB MicroSD Card
- Supports Stereo Bluetooth
- 1400mAh battery with 15 days standby (yeah right) and 5.5 hours of talk time
- 480×360 Bright Colorful Screen (still less than the HTC Touch HD)
- Dual-band 800/1900MHz CDMA/EV-DO Rev A
- Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, 2100MHz HSDPA
- No Wifi (Bound to the Verizon data network)
BGR has the full announcement from BlackBerry, you can check it out if you like.
So in short, it looks like the BlackBerry Storm is coming out on networks all over the world in the next few months. In the US it looks like just Verizon for now (sort of expected T-Mobile to get it as well, until it was announced that the T-Mobile G1 was going to become their new lead-horse).
Not sure how unlocking the phones will work for other networks for now, but we are holding our breath waiting for some official reviews to get an idea of if BlackBerry really nailed it, or if the rumors are true that the clicking-screen and software are just too obnoxious to use and the Storm needs some more time in the oven.
Update #1: Gizmodo has the first “hands on” with the Storm.
Their take on the entire touchscreen being one giant button that you have to press to execute anything (no swipes here folks) is surprisngly positive:
No matter how many times your fingers dance on the screen like you’ve been trained on every other touchscreen, nothing will happen. At least, not until you push the screen all the way down and you feel a click. Yes, the screen is a giant button, one you have to punch for basically every action, even every letter you type, completely breaking the touchscreen paradigm. Surprisingly, it works.
That was the #1 thing we were most concerned about as it’s not the first phone to do this and previous devices using this approach more or less sucked.
The author does confirm what some folks have feared however, that typing on the device (an effort-free event on an iPhone) requires physical effort to click and release each button press. Yes it stops you from most accidental button-presses, but it also raises the bar on how fast you can flow through your typing. A pro and con wrapped together, we’ll have to wait and see what folks things after a couple of weeks owning the device.
I personally hated typing on the iPhone when I first got it, but grew to feel pretty damn comfortable on it after about a month. I wouldn’t say I love it, but it’s certainly easy.
It sounds like this design also makes text-selection and copy/paste a bit complex to learn, especially for folks used to the precision of the track ball from their Pearls or Curves.
The phone will also flip between SureType and QWERTY keyboard input depending on if you have it in portrait or landscape orientation, that’s pretty slick.
Update #2: Here is the full specification sheet for the BlackBerry Storm, thanks Giz!
(Click for larger version)