It’s been rumored for a while, but Verizon Wireless just made the official announcement that the BlackBerry Storm (model 9530) from Research In Motion will be available beginning November 21 in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online. The first ever BlackBerry smartphone with a “clickable” touch screen will run $199.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and a new two-year customer agreement.
The Storm has a SurePress touch screen with tactile feedback so the soft buttons feel more like hardware keys when pressed. Since the BlackBerry Storm is a touch screen device, many people have pegged it as a competitor for the iPhone. In fact, if you watch any of the commercials or demos of the Storm, you’ll see that some of the finger controls are similar. Like the iPhone, the Storm has an accelerometer that changes the display orientation when you rotate the phone. Unlike other BlackBerries to date, the Storm will not have a hardware keyboard, so all text will be entered on-screen using the SureType, multi-tap, or full QWERTY layouts.
This isn’t your average business-minded BlackBerry: the Storm has a 3.2MP camera, music player, and stereo Bluetooth headset support in addition to social networking tools like Facebook and Flickr applications. To store all of your multimedia files, the Storm comes preloaded with a removable 8GB SanDisk microSD card. The Storm also offers Mobile IM. Business features aren’t lacking, either, thanks to the Storm’s ability to view and revise Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. Of course, the Storm also works with BlackBerry Enterprise Server for Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino, and GroupWise. You’ll also get visual voicemail, a full HTML Web browser, and GPS receiver with the Storm.
Global travelers will appreciate that the Storm has a pre-installed SIM Card, making it easy to switch between CDMA and GSM modes to make calls and access emails abroad with Global Phone and Global Email service. EVDO Rev. A (800/1900MHz); GSM / GPRS / EDGE (850/900/1800/1900MHz); and UMTS / HSDPA / HSUPA (2100MHz) bands are supported. The Storm offers tethering options as well.
The Storm is definitely one of the most unique BlackBerry devices we’ve seen to date and is sure to attract the attention (and cash) of many.