Blackberry Storm begins raining on iPhone parade

Woot! The BlackBerry Storm (9530) on Verizon's 3G EV-DO network has been announced. Support on Vodafone was also announced. Finally, a touch-screen smartphone made by somebody who knows how to deliver what customers really want, instead of what socialist Big Brother Apple dictates. Storm has all the goodies: touch screen, GPS, accelerometer, rotating display, multi-touch, tap, gestures, 3.2 megapixel camera, Bluetooth and headset jack. Storm overcomes Apple's black-box limitations by including a microSD memory slot for 1, 2, ... 8, 16 or 32MB card (instead of forcing you to buy expensive iPhone replacements for more storage memory), a removable battery (to be able to offer extended battery options, so users avoid sending in phones for battery repairs), both SureType and QWERTY touch-screen keyboard modes (portrait and landscape, respectively), speech-recognition voice dialing, and a secondary microphone for noise canceling during calls. Here's a pretty detailed look at the Storm hardware and software.

And the Storm extends the touch-screen interface with gentle "click" force feedback. The Storm is just slightly bigger than the BlackBerry Curve and has a 480x360 display (a 12% increase in pixels over the iPhone). One of the best features of Storm is something it doesn't have: iTunes, another black-box piece of software Apple forces users to endure. When iTunes isn't busy bricking phones during upgrades, it's busy upgrading itself with new patches and fixes that seemingly arrive on an almost daily basis. Oh, and customers don't have to live with AT&T's subpar network. Storm "supports all major overseas GSM and 3G networks" according to Phone Scoop's review of the hardware, and thanks to Verizon's roaming agreements in Europe and Asia. 

While I won't stand in line or shell out any bucks to get an iPhone 3G, whose battery life and software force users to turn off Wi-Fi and 3G network features, or suffer through software upgrades that wipe phones, I will be one of the first to get a BlackBerry Storm when they hit Verizon online and store shelves. My phone upgrade with Verizon is up again this month. Sweet.

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