Blackberry Storm Needs Bailout And Stimulus Package

Rex, an old buddy of mine, recently asked me, "Hey you have a Blackberry Storm, don't you? What do you think of it?" It was a loaded question because Rex had recently set up a Storm for one of his customers, and said, "... it only took few minutes or so setting up email to figure out this thing wasn't any good."

You see, despite RIM's impressive $518.3m fourth quarter, a 25.6% year-over-year increase, and the reasonable sales numbers of Storms sold, it's really a device that's not ready for prime time. My verdict on the Storm? Plain and simple - I HATE IT. This is one of the worst devices I've used. My recommendation? Well, based on my user experience I'd say run, don't walk, as FAR AWAY from the Blackberry Storm as possible. I'm on my second Storm and it's getting sent back just like the first one.

Also see: BlackBerry Storm vs. iPhone

Why is the Blackberry Storm such a huge disappointment? The Storm does not do what it says it will do, at least not on a reliable basis, and sometimes not at all. The list of issues I've had with my Storm are long and frustrating.

SLOW & SLUGGISH Doesn't Win The Race - First, the Storm's UI is very slow and sluggish to respond. Imagine having to slow yourself down as you wait for the Storm to catch up with nearly every key press. Sure, I like waiting for my computing and mobile devices to catch up with me, uh huh. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?

OUT TO LUNCH - The Strom frequently goes out to lunch. Reminds me a lot of when SmallTalk would start doing memory garbage collection. You'll be in the middle of navigating to your contact list, or backing out of an app to the main menu. The Storm just stops, doesn't do anything, until for whatever reason the Storm decides to start working. I've seen my Storm go out to lunch for minutes before deciding to rejoin the living again. There are mules that are more cooperative than this thing.

VERTIGO. You know that nice rotating screen that supposed to flip between portrait and landscape as you physically rotate the Storm. Works sometimes, is slow others, and doesn't work at all other times. I find I'm frequently waiting for the Storm to see if it's going to rotate or if I should just start using it in "sideways mode" while the stupid thing is deciding to rotate. If you're good at watching TV sideways with your head laying sidways on the couch, you'll enjoy the Storm. 

REBOOTS. I was driving downtown to a customer site yesterday, finishing a call on the Storm. I went to pick it up and make my next call, and there was that old friend, the white reboot screen with the spinning stopwatch on it. Oh goodie, I guess I'll miss that call to my customer. I was all the way downtown before the Storm decided it was done doing whatever it was doing and started working again. Missed the call I was supposed to make. Missed incoming calls. Missed my old phone I used to have before the Storm too.

SELF BREAKING FEATURES - Yesterday both my voice dial and visual voicemail decided to stop working. Pressing the voice dial button, which I use frequently, just presents a white screen and then locks up. I'll have to try it again this morning and see if it's back up working again. And suddenly pressing the play icon on a visual voicemail presents the error message, "Playback error." Storm, you are a playback error.

Other than that, the Blackberry Storm works great. (I'm being facetious of course.) So... Rex, you figured out in a few minutes what I experience everyday with the Blackberry Storm... that it sucks. I don't know any better way to say it. The device simply does not work. The replacement device I received is worse in some ways than the original I had.

VERDICT: My only solution if you have a Blackberry Storm is to give it your personal version of a stimulus package. Stimulate your Storm right off then end of your boot as you kick the thing to the curb. Do the economy a favor and buy a device that actually increases productivity, not stifles it like the Storm does.

Update: Yes, there are unsupported, leaked versions of the Storm OS (like but Verizon and RIM still ship with and only report as the most up-to-date OS version. Most users aren't going to upgrade to an unsupported OS.

Check out my follow up blog post, Storm Customers Left To Run Unsupported Software.

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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