It's been rumored for months, now it's finally official: BlackBerry and Verizon Wireless have unveiled the BlackBerry Storm. The first BlackBerry smartphone to feature a touch screen will be available in the U.S. "later this fall"--no specific date or price has been announced.
Here's what you can expect to find on the BlackBerry Storm:
The Storm will support microSD memory cards, so you can add 16GB of storage to the phone's built-in 1GB of memory.
Clickable Touch Screen:
This is the first BlackBerry phone that will lack a hardware-based keyboard, and that could be a big deal for BlackBerry users who rely on these phones for their excellent e-mail handling. RIM is offering a unique approach to the touch screen: It will depress slightly and click when you tap it, much like a regular old keyboard does. This is designed to mimic the performance of a hardware keyboard as much as possible.
The Storm will come with DataViz Documents to Go, which allows you to view, create and edit Microsoft Office documents on the phone. RIM's announcement of the Storm also included mention of new developer tools for creating applications that will run on the BlackBerry Storm--and the BlackBerry Bold and Pearl Flip phones. While you already can find plenty of BlackBerry apps available for download, it sounds like RIM is ramping up the marketplace.
The Storm's touch screen will support single-touch and multi-touch. This means it can register more than one point of contact; it's what allows you to pinch and zoom a screen on an iPhone, for example. RIM says it the multi-touch features will allow you to navigate the phone's interface and its HTML browser more easily--but whether you'll be able to zoom in and out as effortlessly as you can on the iPhone remains to be seen.
RIM says the Storm will have built-in GPS with support for location-based applications and photo geotagging. Presumably, this means you'll be able to download Verizon's impressive VZ Navigator software for turn-by-turn directions.
The 3.25-inch display can switch between portrait mode and landscape mode when you rotate the phone. In landscape mode, you'll get a full, virtual QWERTY keyboard; while in portrait mode, you'll get a more compact SureType keyboard.
The Storm will feature a 3.2-megapixel camera with zoom, flash, and autofocus. It will also record video--something the iPhone lacks.