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Blackberry Storm

by Doug Black in Tech on 28 November 2008

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The Storm is BlackBerry's much-heralded first foray into touchscreen smartphones. When it hit the market earlier this week, it entered a field of touchscreen phones like the T-Mobile G1 and the gold standard Apple iPhone. It was developed by Canada's Research in Motion and represents a clear challenge to Apple's supremacy. We've been toying with a review unit for a week, and have noted a few clear-cut advantages. The Storm boasts a respectable 3.2 megapixel camera with LED flash, a standard 3.5mm headphone jack and intuitive functions like cut-and-paste.

But the most high profile feature on the Storm, is its big (480x360 resolution) click-able touchscreen. A persistent problem with touchscreen technology is the inability to hover over an option without selecting it. The Storm's answer is called SurePress, a screen that acts as one big mouse button while still recognizing lesser finger movements. This way, when typing an email or SMS, the capacitive screen highlights each letter, which can be selected with a click of the screen. But since the additional click can seem to be just an extra step in the typing process, the viability of the feature is still up for debate.

Sticking to BlackBerry's traditional businessman appeal, the Storm also has top-notch phone and email functions. The dual-mic noise cancellation keeps reception clear and earpiece volume reaches admirable levels. The mail program has search functions and uses push email to keep things efficient and reliable.

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Of course, the Storm does have its shortcomings. The operating system has a habit of lagging behind your finger and crashed more than a couple times. Also, the complete lack of wifi compatibility hasn't gone unnoticed. Although the exclusive agreement with Verizon Wireless provides the nation's largest network, it also brings a tighter grip on applications, which are paltry when compared to competitors like the iPhone.

The Blackberry storm costs $200 (after $50 rebate) and is exclusively available through Verizon.

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