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RIM Unveils BlackBerry Storm 2 On Vodafone UK

Gordon Kelly by

RIM Unveils BlackBerry Storm 2 On Vodafone UK

Yes there have been so many BlackBerry Storm 2 leaks (and leaks) that it feels like the phone has been launched a dozen times already. Remarkably however RIM has kept quiet throughout, but today finally sees the handsets' official unveiling.

As you might expect - given the number of leaks - everything you had previously heard was spot on the money, even down to Vodafone being the exclusive launch partner. The official code name is also the ‘9520', but it will be advertised everywhere as the Storm 2.

So what of those specs? A 3.25in 360 x 480 resolution capacitive touchscreen with HSDPA, WiFi (yes, WiFi - huzzah!), GPS, a 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus, 2GB of internal memory, a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microSD expansion slot. So far so very incremental, but the Storm 2 makes a fundamentally important shift from its predecessor: the touchscreen keyboard doesn't make you want to scratch your eyes out.

In meeting RIM today I managed to get some time with the Storm 2 and I can confirm that whereby the Storm was a love it/hate it (for me mostly hate) typing experience, this time around handset nails it. The ‘click' interface where the screen actually depresses when pushed is still in place, but a) the screen now doesn't feel like it is about to fall out, b) it is far more responsive thanks to numerous software tweets under the hood. The result: typing is fast, intuitive and I was up to speed in just a few sentences. Could it convert those who still bow to the lords of physical keyboard? It actually just might.

On top of this you'll find the design - whilst largely the same - has been nicely tweaked with more rounded corners (which make it feel far better in hand) and a seamless bezel. More debatable is the physical buttons along the bottom of the original Storm have been replaced by touch sensitive ones which look great from a visual perspective, but are a little more fiddly to use.

We'll be getting the Storm 2 in for a full review shortly, but until then rest safe in knowing that RIM has finally cracked the touchscreen format at the second attempt. This is what the original Storm should have been. Contracts are also a little more reasonable this time with the handset available from free on two year £35pm contracts. Welcome to the touchscreen party RIM!

Link:

Storm 2 On Vodafone

Go to comments

Ben

October 15, 2009, 8:33 pm

Reassuring. I'll never forget how shocked I was at the Storm and how poor it was to use. Fingers crossed they really did get it right this time :)

HarryGlass

October 15, 2009, 11:27 pm

So this is RIMs' Windows 7 to the Vista that was the Storm. And actually that's probably not being fair on Microsoft.





In that handshot (not sure if that's the right word, but it sounds dirtier than I intended) it looks like the phone is r-e-a-l-l-y wide and would be impossible to use one handed and not pocket friendly.

rav

October 16, 2009, 12:32 am

But will it fail again based on one tweet by Stephen Fry?

jopey

October 16, 2009, 2:36 am

It's ginormic!

Gordon394

October 16, 2009, 3:25 am

@HK - it has the same dimensions as the original storm. Chunky, but around the same weight as an iPhone

eyewonder

October 16, 2009, 3:55 am

Any idea whether Vodafone will be offering a free upgrade option to existing Storm customers in a similar way O2 offered the iphone 3G as an upgrade to existing iphone customers?





As an original Storm customer with 6 months outstanding on an 18 month contract I now have the choice between the Storm 2 and iphone since Vodafone will be carrying both come Q2 2010. I am looking to TR for a thorough review of the Storm 2, ideally in direct comparison with the iphone -especially on the issue of the soft keyboard as this looks like the make or break feature.





The fate of my next handset lays wih you guys....

Gordon394

October 16, 2009, 9:13 am

@eyewonder - not a chance I'm afraid. The original iPhone was a one-off simply because (and everyone forgets this) it WASN'T SUBSIDISED by O2. Essentially customers paid a huge price because of this on top of a contract so O2 was prepared to play ball early. The iPhone 3G however was subsidised so there were no contracts allowed to be broken early when the 3GS came out. Similarly the original Storm was heavily subsidised.





To be honest, the Storm 2 and 3GS are not comparable phones despite the fact many will be looking to choose between the two. The 3GS is a vastly superior multimedia experience and has an unrivalled app store. Its UI is also still the best around.





By contrast, the Storm 2 is the better business device and it's revised click screen is excellent for those who like the sensation of a physical keyboard. It is also much easier to simply pick up and type accurately on the Storm 2 - the iPhone takes practice to get up to speed.





You need to think about what you primarily want your phone for then make a decision based on that. They are wildly different devices with completely different focuses.

Mark Southee

October 20, 2009, 12:54 am

According to what I've read, the Vodafone exclusive doesn't last long. Is this true?

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