5 Things Blackberry Storm Got Right The iPhone Didn't

Welcome Blackberry Storm - we've been waiting. It's no secret I think the Apple iPhone is mostly iCandy and benefits more from Apple "cool" rather than real substance as a fully useful SmartPhone. It's an iPod with a bad phone, a bad phone network, and poorly thought out email app slapped on it. I call it the iPlod (and sometimes the iNewton.) And it has Apple designing it, which means users get nice iCandy but fundamentals are lacking or are poorly implemented. But, that said, Apple as usual has ushered in some valuable advancements, showing the rest of the industry where innovation was lacking. Touchscreen is the biggest addition the iPlod, er I mean, the iPhone brought to us.

So what does the Blackberry Storm have going for it that will help it dethrone the iPhone as the cool new must-have SmartPhone device? It's important to look at what Blackberry Storm got right, right out of the chute.

1. First, be a great phone and email device. That's what SmartPhones are supposed to do. The two fundamental killer apps for any SmartPhone are first being a great phone and second being a great email device. Blackberry has an excellent track record of succeeding at both. I'll use my Blackberry World Edition 8830 as an example. Phone quality is top rate. It's simply an excellent phone, whether you are talking phone quality or the software user interface of the Blackberry. I never have complaints about call quality and don't suffer many dropped calls. Even the speakerphone is first rate, the best I've used on a cell phone. The voice dialing is also the best I've used, and one of the few that works well enough I've continued to use it. And for email, well... that's where Blackberry's root are. Internet mail sync or Outlook sync is extremely easy and reliable. Only Windows Mobile 6 is likely easier when it comes to email sync and integration. It's a given the Storm will do email sync just as well. Where Blackberry email has lacked is in html support for email.

2. Expandability. Just like other Blackberry units, the Blackberry Storm has user expandable storage and a serviceable battery. The Storm starts with 1GM of built in memory and has an miniSD slot to expand memory up to 16GB (and likely will have 32MB miniSDHD support too). No iPod or iPhone replacement issues here. Just spend a few bucks to double or triple your Storm memory card instead of replacing the entire device. Then toss the old miniSD card in your camera bag or use it in some other electronic doodad. The battery is the same way. Open the compartment, pop the old one out and pop the new one in. I'm guessing the Storm will have an extended battery option just like my World Edition did. And I'll very surprised if the Storm suffers from the same battery draining woes the iPhone 3G does. I can go two days on my World Edition without a charge.

3. Improving on Innovation. Blackberry Storm takes the gorgeous look and usability of the touch screen interface and improves it by adding the "click" tactile response to the interface. Storm's screen is a larger 480x360 (12% bigger) and also has two keyboard layouts (QWERTY and SureType) and improves the camera with 3.2 megapixels and ability record video, zoom, autofocus and flash. Oh, and the Storm remembered to include cut-and-paste and email/mms sending of pictures. Funny how Apple, the people who introduced cut-and-paste to the world, forgot that one on the iNewton, er I mean iPhone.

4. No boat anchors. No iTunes. No upgrade bricks. Need I say more? Look up bloatware or boat anchor in the dictionary and you'll find iTunes listed there.

5. No Apple socialism. Blackberry's might be known as "crackberry's" but they don't come with the arrogance and snobbery of Apple's black box, we know better attitude toward customers and product design. My Blackberry just works, and works well. No attitude and fan boys who bash anyone who speaks up against the Cult of Jobs. (Though, I've noticed I get a lot less hate mail and slasher comments from Apple fanboys these days. Have they really given up that easily? Disappointing.) It's refreshing to use a product like the Blackberry that does what it's supposed to do, does it well, and doesn't come with a user community who says "you're an idiot" if you step out of line and think for yourself.

I have every reason to believe the Storm will live up to its Blackberry history of great products. How refreshing.

Like this? Here are some of Mitchell's recent posts.

Check out Mitchell's companion Converging On Microsoft Podcast. And Follow Mitchell on

Mitchell's Product Reviews:

Mitchell's Book Recommendations: Also visit Mitchell's other blogs and podcasts:

Visit Microsoft Subnet for more news, blogs, opinion from around the Web. Sign up for the bi-weekly Microsoft newsletter. (Click on News/Microsoft News Alert.)

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.