Ok. Let’s face it. You hated the original BlackBerry Storm and now you should have never purchased it. At the time we were all in shock that RIM hopped on the bandwagon and decided to come out with their very own touchscreen BlackBerry with hopes to become the first “iPhone killer”. Tons of propaganda was distributed. Commercial spots on national T.V. Bloggers all over the net were going crazy trying to get the latest scoop on it. It goes on and on. Reality check now. We’re human, we all make mistakes right? How many of you with the first Storm suffered from constant crashes, memory leaks, no service and misspelled words? The answer to that question should be many and if it’s not, then you’re one of the lucky ones. As always, RIM sees a way out of the situation they are in and try to improve on what needs to be done; do you think they’ve succeeded this time? The Storm2 is out and now you are currently trying to make a decision based on your feelings on the first generation Storm. Do you think that you will encounter the same issues as with the previous Storm or how about a better user experience? Hit the jump after the break to find out.
Size (LxWxD) 112.5 mm x 62 mm x 13.9 mm Weight (battery included) 160 g / 5.65 oz Memory 256 MB Flash memory, 2GB eMMC Expandable Memory MicroSD located under battery door cover (up to 16 GB) Battery 1400 mAhr removable/rechargeable cryptographic Lithium cell Battery Life CDMA: 11.2 days standby, 5.5 hours of talk time
GSM: 12.7 days standby, 5 hours of talk time
UMTS: 11.7 days standby, 6 hours of talk time
Display High-resolution 480 X 360 pixel color display 3.25″ (diagonally measured)
Transmissive TFT LCD
Supports over 65,000 colors
Dynamic hardware brightness control
Camera 3.2 MP camera, flash, auto focus, image stabilization, 2X digital zoom GPS Integrated GPS with A-GPS Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g enabled Media Player BlackBerry Media Player
Video format support: MPEG4 H.263, MPEG4 Part 2
Simple Profile, H.264, WMV
Audio format support: MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA,
Headset 3.5mm stereo headset capable Network Quad-Band: 850/900/1800/1900MHz GSM/GPRS/
Single-Band: 2100 MHz UMTS/HSPA networks
Dual-Band: 800/1900 MHz CDMA/EVDO Rev A network
Comparing the specs and features list of the BlackBerry Storm2 to the BlackBerry Storm on a line by line basis does not actually reveal that many changes, yet the changes that have been made are significant. According to Research in Motion:
BlackBerry Storm2 refinements include:
- Enhanced SurePress Technology (SurePress is all electronic in Storm 2 – there are no mechanical moving parts)
- Internet browsing enhancements (i.e. faster page loading)
- Overall device performance (i.e. rotation speed, etc…) is enhanced
- Wi-FI 802.11 b/g
- 256 MB Flash Memory (Storm 1 had 128MB)
- 2GB Onboard Media Memory (Storm 1 had 1GB)
- Sleeker Design (tinted chrome ring, etc.)
- Integrated touch navigation keys
- BlackBerry Handheld Software v5.0
User Interface Enhancements on Storm2 include:
- Inertial Scrolling w/Snap Back
- Enhanced SMS UI – notifications, emoticons, threaded chats
- Enhanced SurePress input
- Probability-based entry with advanced auto-correct
- Multi-touch for ALT and SHIFT
- Key rollover for faster typing
- Optimized pressure for comfortable text entry
- Fine Cursor Control (for text editing)
- Improved sensitivity and accuracy
- Multi-touch text selection enhancements (for copy/paste)
- Updated spin boxes
o Clock, calendar, date/time, etc…
- Phone enhancements
o Face detection
- Actionable touch buttons (Send in Messaging, Save in Calendar/Contacts, etc)
The BlackBerry Storm2 is…..no different from the Storm, but with a few minor changes. You still get the same 3.2 inch, 360×480 capacitive display (which by the way is gorgeous. RIM you sure do know how to make colors “POP”.), same form factor, and same exact size as the previous Storm. On the left side of the phone you have your newly constructed convienience key as well as the microUSB charging port. On the right there is the 3.5mm headphone jack, volume rocker and camera button. On the front side of the device is that gorgeous screen and nothing but the screen. This is where I think RIM failed at. They could’ve squeezed an extra inch or two on there. I’m guessing they were trying to go for the theater effect with the black lines surrounding the outer part of the screen. You also no longer have the gaps between the screen and the edge of the phone where you would see a light coming from the bottom and also allowed for dust to easily get in it. On the bottom of the screen you have the call/answer, BlackBerry, back and end “buttons”. The buttons are actually implemented inside of the screen itself, as with the previous Storm they were just regular buttons. Although the buttons are implemented inside the screen, they are not like the ones found on the Motorola DROID, you actually need to click on the screen to press them. At the top you have the mute and power buttons which are hardly noticeable. To the backside of the device, we have the new backdoor without the hooks at the corners. Opening and closing the backdoor feels a lot better now and you don’t have to constantly check to see if one of your hooks came off. It is a snap on/lift off combination that works and feels solid.
One of the best screens on a BlackBerry to date and still a bit awkward. Pressing the screen still feels like there’s a big button and they should just get rid of the concept. Hey RIM, follow Apple, they seem to be doing something right. What they should implement is the option to have the screen not click for those users who don’t like it. The screen is still great in some aspects though. The colors are just bright and vivid while the darks are well, dark. Pictures and videos are presented on the screen very nicely. Both the BlackBerry Storm and Storm2 have the same specifications, but the Storm2’s display seems to be more attractive. Putting the BlackBerry Storm2 beside a BlackBerry Storm, you can see that when powered off the Storm2’s display is much darker. Even when side by side, powered on watching the same music videos, the Storm2’s display is brighter, with darker blacks and whiter whites. It really is impressive.
The real ice breaker here. RIM was taking a beating, and I mean a fierce beating with comments from consumers and fellow bloggers saying the first generation of SurePress technology was horrible or getting mixed feelings. The concept is great, you’re actually clicking the screen to confirm what you are pressing and that is a little bit more better than having Haptic feedback. They also won an award at the MWC (Mobile World Congress) back in February last year, so they must be doing something right. I want to know what I’m pressing all the time, and sometimes those little vibrations aren’t as strong so you make mistakes. Don’t get me wrong, there are misspelled words sometimes, no one types perfect and the Storm2 is no exception to the latter. The Storm2 uses a different type of technology for multitouch on the screen called Piezo technology. What is Piezo technology you ask? Piezo (which is short for piezoelectricity) is the ability of some materials to generate an electric field or electric potential in response to applied mechanical stress. The word is derived from the Greek piezo or piezein, which means to squeeze or press. To sum it all up, it pretty much works with the electricity your fingers generate to produce what you are typing.
Now for the actual typing. Typing on the Storm2 feels a whole lot better than typing on the first one. Since the ability to multitouch is available, typing isn’t as hard as it was previously. Yes, it isn’t the same as typing on an actual BlackBerry keyboard, which they craft so well, but it gets the job done. You won’t be banging out texts and emails as fast like you would on a Bold, but it’ll become second nature as usual and you’ll be clicking away at a normal or faster than normal pace once you get the hang of it. I love BlackBerry keyboards. Hence, it’s the reason I purchase a BlackBerry for. Now the Storm2’s typing quality isn’t like the Bold per say, but I can tell you it is better than typing on a Curve 8300 if you felt like those keys were too small. With a little bit of practice, you should be able to type with your eyes closed. Overall, even after all that info up top about the screen and the new technology it uses, typing on this is a pain. This is something RIM really needs to look over and re-do their strategy and with a little bit more time (and one more Storm), it’ll probably become a hit. Third times the charm right?
Which version are we on now? Oh yeah that’s right, 5.0. The Storm2 is installed with BlackBerry OS 5.0 right out of the box and to be honest, it really isn’t all that of an update. When you start the device up, you are now greeted with the new BlackBerry loading screen. No longer do you have to see the hourglass spin around for approximately 7 minutes. It’s plain and simple. The screen is all black with BlackBerry right in the middle of the screen as well as a loading bar to the south of it. Start-up doesn’t take that long now due to the RAM (256MB) that is being equipped with the newer BlackBerries. Its almost half the time as loading from OS 4.7 which is a big improvement. After the Storm2 performs all of its necessary security checks and finishes loading, you are greeted with the home screen to your ‘berry. Clicking the screen in brings you to the full menu of all the apps available on your Storm. The first thing you notice after clicking in the screen is the little animation transitioning you from one screen to another. It looks as if you are warped into the next screen and thanks to 5.0, you see that in every transition. Opening the menus are snappy and fluid with no lag at all. Scrolling up and down also shows 5.0’s smoothness especially in the contacts section. Applications are also snappy while opening them. Are you getting the picture here? These are 2009 BlackBerries we talking about here, 256MB RAM, 600 MHz processors, 3.2 MP Cameras, 1GB (2GB in this case) built in storage. RIM is doing it big here and they are continuing the trend into 2010. These are all great but that is just a pinch of what RIM is offering in OS 5.0, here are the rest of the improvements :
Companies running BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0—originally released back in May—will see several additional improvements on BlackBerry OS 5.0-equipped devices. They include follow-up flags for e-mail messages; e-mail folder management; the ability to view, edit, save, or e-mail documents from remote file shares; calendar appointment forwards and attachment viewing; and wireless contact sync for multiple folders, distribution lists, and Public/Shared folder contacts.
The touch screen-equipped BlackBerry Storm 9530 and Storm2 9550 get inertial scrolling and bounce-back; improved typing accuracy (even with the older 9530 screen, though obviously not the actuator-related improvements on the newer device); improved auto-correct; cute spinning UI boxes for setting dates and times; and more attractive buttons and other UI animations.
Finally, anyone working on apps for BlackBerry handsets will likely be thrilled with the latest BlackBerry Java Application Development Tools. The new v5.0 Beta 3 release adds new APIs that will let programmers create apps that hook into address book contacts, create more sophisticated push applications, hook into the GPS radio to grab the user’s current location, and more robust user interface and menu customization.
There are other things RIM improved on in 5.0 such as threaded SMS (which was a highly anticipated upgrade BlackBerry users were anxiously patiently waiting for), better web browser although it still isn’t in the same league as the iPhone’s WebKit based browser but we should see vast improvement to the browser with the purchase of Torch Mobile and BBM 5.0 which includes contact backup with whichever email address is synced to your BlackBerry. RIM has been at work for a while on this OS and they’ve shed their blood, sweat and tears into making this release of 5.0 worthwhile. Kudos RIM.
With all of the choices to choose from, it seems that RIM is going for three things at one time: 1. Power User|Crackberry Addict 2. Multimedia User 3. First Time Users. Which category does the Storm2 fit into? Number two obviously. Power users will take a look at the Storm2 and all of its beauty, but will go for the more suitable Bold instead. It is not to disrespect the Storm2, but people still don’t feel as if the Storm2 belongs in that category. Yes it is true that multimedia devices are making its ways into corporate offices (iPhone), but how many corporate buildings and offices are allowing devices with cameras to enter the area? Still not a lot. The BlackBerry Storm2 is one of RIM’s best devices to date and there shouldn’t be any second thoughts about purchasing this one like there was the first one. This time around RIM listened to the regular consumer who doesn’t want to carry around two devices for their personal preferences. They’ve installed a very stable upgrade to their aging OS as well as equipping it with a bright and extremely vivid screen for video purposes with great speakers. The aim for having the number one device sold in the world does belong to RIM with the Curve 8300 being their sole leader in sales and the iPhone right behind it in second place, but it looks like they’re aiming to get the top spot with all their phones. Til we meet again next November?