Before the iPhone went gangbusters, it could be argued that the smartphones of choice were likely the Blackberry and Palm. Without touch screens, for the most part, these initial mobile pioneers taught us that, indeed, we could use phones for anything and everything.
But for many people, the iPhone didn’t just level the playing field, it blew it out of the water. Though certainly not free from its own problems, like single network availability (just AT&T offers the iPhone in the US), still the iPhone has ushered in a new era for smartphones where, at least from my perspective, the actual phone component becomes second nature to the myriad of available applications.
And in the years since, at least from this humble mobile phone observer’s standpoint (I am stuck in a contract with an abysmally crappy phone, but my husband has an iPhone, and I have the Mock-iPhone, er, I mean, iPod Touch) it’s seemed that every new smartphone has done its best to look and act just like the iPhone. Some even could pass for one at first glance. But it could be argued that none have actually managed to dethrone the mighty iPhone as far as design and usability, in no small part due to the applications available (2,000 for the Blackberry Storm vs. a mind-boggling 85,000 for the iPhone). While RIM still holds a higher percentage of the market share, in all fairness, they’ve been in the smartphone business a lot longer.
Blackberry’s first generation Storm released to fanfare but quickly fell flat with complains of usability and general funkiness (lots of buttons, a weird crack between the display and keys). So, RIM went back to the drawing board, and today announced the specs for the Blackberry Storm 2. PC World’s review says, “This is the Storm that I wish RIM had released last year–the device’s build, the on-screen keyboard, and the software are miles beyond the first generation” but concludes that overall, it’s still a bit unintuitive, especially when it comes to typing.
With speculation that the phone will drop sometime in late October or early November in the US (it releases in Europe today) here’s a rundown of some of the basic specs:
- 3.25″ touch screen displays with over 65,000 colors
- 3.2 MP camera (complete with video recording)
- WiFi support (sort of a no-brainer there, folks)
- Their own SurePress technology which claims to make typing easier
- Long lasting battery/easy access battery (having once owned a Blackberry Pearl, I am well versed in the agony of removing the battery from their devices; a good improvement)
- “Fast network connectivity” (their words, not mine; no actual specs cited yet)
While the Storm 2 might not take the world by… um… storm, it does appear that RIM is making steps in the right direction. Any GAS readers out there had their hand at trying the newest Crackberry? Let us know your thoughts!