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Blackberry Storm – A Huge Disappointment

Sometimes I just have to fess up and eat crow, and it’s time I do that about all the touting I’ve done declaring the BlackBerry Storm an iPhone killer. The fact of the matter is, the BlackBerry Storm has a long way to go before it equals the iPhone in many respects. I’m not saying the Storm is a complete, across the board failure but the Storm fails in its most important aspect of the product -- the touch interface.

Blackberry Storm’s touch interface is a big disappointment for two reasons. First, it’s very slow. It’s not unusual to have to wait 2 or 3 seconds for the Storm to catch so I can take the next action. This happens in many places, including the icons on the home screen. These days there’s no excuse for slow performance on what is supposed to be a high-end product. Second, the Storm is also very slow to recognize when the device has been rotated. At times it doesn’t recognize that device has been turned at all, resulting in you looking at a sideways screen, trying to figure out how to get the Storm to rotate. 

In contrast, the iPhone’s interface is generally very snappy thanks in part to it’s on-board graphics processor. When you tap or swipe on the iPhone, it responds quickly rather than taking it’s sweet time like the BlackBerry Storm. My only beef with the iPhone interface is that at times it doesn’t recognize some actions through the touch interface. Most notable is the iPod app on the iPhone. It frequently doesn’t recognize volume changes or attempts to skip forwards or backwards in a song. But for the most part, that’s an exception. Overall the iPhone is very responsive.

The iPhone’s other big advantage is the app store and the thousands of applications. My two favorites are Guitar Toolkit and Zippo Lighter. As an early adopter I don’t expect the Storm to rush out with thousands of third-party apps right away. That will take time. But the sluggish user-interface experience of the Storm does make you wonder if third-party Storm apps will suffer the same woes.

I’d love RIM to turn the situation around and release some software updates that change the Storm’s user experience from underwhelming to delightful. So far, there’s no evidence of that happening.

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