Goodbye Blackberry Storm, Hello Apple iPhone

In a major about face, I mean this Apple poo poo blogger is eating some very serious crow here, I'm announcing that I've powered down the Blackberry Storm, ported the number from Verizon to AT&T, and am now using an iPhone 3G as my primary SmartPhone device. The Storm is up on eBay and the iPhone 3G has replaced the Storm in my right front pocket. Who would have thought that after all the pro Storm and anti iPhone blogging I've done that I would ditch the Storm and make the switch to the iPhone, even if only to save face. But when I'm wrong, I'm wrong. The evidence was there from day one, I just had to come to grips with the truth and put aside whatever emotional investment I'd made about being "right" about the Storm being a potential iPhone killer, or at least a reasonable iPhone alternative. It isn't. Far from it. The iPhone is a far, far superior device. These two SmartPhone devices couldn't be in galaxies farther apart.

The Blackberry Storm failed from the day it came out of the box back in November 2008 when the Storm was finally unleashed upon the world. The Storm's real failure was in RIM not producing the needed software fixes and improvements in the first six months of the Storm's existence. For most customers not willing to experiment with leaked, unofficial Storm OS versions, the Blackberry Storm largely delivers the same experience it did the day it first shipped. Yes, I had upgraded the Storm OS to multiple unofficial software releases to try and get some relief from the Storm's dogged, buggy and lackluster performance. And there were also hardware problems, with my Storm needing to be replaced twice because of problems with the "press" touch screen.

My switch to the iPhone wasn't only due to issues with the Storm, there are business reasons too. What turned it around for me was when I needed to start testing an iPhone app for one of my projects. I needed to carry the iPhone so I could use our software, which forced me to spend more time using and growing to appreciate the iPhone's capabilities. Apple's beta release of the iPhone OS 3.0 was also a factor, seeing all the improvements Apple's making across virtually all aspects of the iPhone's OS. Lastly, as I carried both the Strom to use as my phone and the iPhone to use as my app PDA, it became obvious. Why would I return to the Storm with its limitations and poor user experience, when the iPhone is such a superior device and delivers such a great user experience? Hoff, if you're listening... you were right; it was just a matter of time.

I know that going the way of the iPhone has its issues. The battery isn't user replaceable and the battery life isn't as good as the Storm's, but that's also because I'm using the iPhone and its apps 10x as much as I used the Storm. The biggest issue is probably Apple's poor history of iPhone software upgrades and bricking iPhones, all of which I've lived through via my friend and podcast partner, Alan. And there's the iPhone's reliance on iTunes, one of the two biggest bloatware pieces of software in existence (the other being Outlook) that frequently freezes and has doggy performance.

Best of all, it's nice not to be struggling with my SmartPhone. The iPhone's been a solid performer and I enjoy and rely on many of the apps I use, from Guitar Toolkit (which as an awesome metronome and chord finder) to my own iPhone software under development.

The saddest part of all this is the near complete silence we've heard from Microsoft about having anything close to an answer to the iPhone. There have been rumors, such as the most recent that Microsoft and Verizon were partnering to create a new SmartPhone, and there are the ever present rumors of "pink", what was once thought of as the Zune-phone. And there is that leaked unauthorized document exploring what new capabilities might be in some future version of Windows Mobile 7. (So much for my iPhone doomed predictions... at least up to this point.) Microsoft is losing ground everyday as the the iPhone outsells most other devices, continues to grow in apps and app developers, and Apple adds improvements and advancements to the iPhone OS. Few execute planned obsolescence better than Apple has with the iPod and I would expect the same for the iPhone.

Am I writing the Blackberry Storm off for good? No, it still can become a good device but it has a lot of maturing to do, and a lot more catching up to do if it's ever going to be anything close to the iPhone. And as long as the iPhone is an AT&T wireless only device, those who won't or can't make the switch will look to the Storm as an alternative, albeit a poor one. RIM's got a lot of work to do if they want the Storm to be anything more than an alternative to customers landlocked with Verizon.

Okay, there's a call coming in on my iPhone. I'm putting the crow away now.

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