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10 Things We Really Love About RIM's Blackberry Storm

Research In Motion's apparent flawless execution in the release of the Blackberry Storm comes during, what might be called, the golden age of mobile platform with no less than five competing mobile platforms - Android, Apple, Microsoft, Symbian and RIM - vying for our attention.

Although RIM has around 20 million subscribers worldwide, a tiny fraction of mobile phone users, they are amongst the most sought as they are techno-savvy, cash rich and time poor.

The Blackberry Storm, RIM's latest addition to the growing family of Consumer oriented Smartphones, aims at getting RIM to the next level as it seeks to compete more globally with the other four existing platforms, all of which are competing for RIM's small but extremely valuable share.

And as one can guess, the Storm, RIM's first touchscreen smartphone has a few good for its users (ed: I started this article looking for weaknesses but couldn't find anything major).

(a) "Better-than-Haptics" Screen

Blackberry introduced some new nifty technology, literally, underneath the device's screen which reproduces feedback with more fidelity. Clickthrough, as it is known, offers true tactile feedback and feels and sounds like a true keyboard when a user types on the screen. This means that you will be able to write texts quicker and with less errors.

(b) 3.2-megapixel Camera With A Flash!

The Storm has a 3.2-megapixel camera and a flash. That's better than the T-Mobile Android G1 and the iPhone in one swoop. And although, that's at the lower end of the current resolution range on Cameraphones, 3.2mp should give it the edge over its competitors.

(c) 3.5mm Stereo input

Box ticked. Having a 3.5mm stereo input means that your investments (noise-cancelling earphones, mini hifi systems etc) are safe as you will not need to have a 3.5mm to 2.5mm converter. Good to know that Blackberry listens to its customers while HTC's Android G1 for example lacks one.

(d) Removable Battery

The iPhone has no removable battery whereas the Storm has one. And as the European Union (opens in new tab) has just issued a directive that indicates that non user-replaceable batteries could be banned, the Storm could have a headstart (depending of course whether the EU enforces the directive).

(e) Better Screen Resolution

The Storm packs more pixels in a slightly smaller screen diagonal compared to the iPhone, sporting 12.5 percent more picture elements than Apple's smartphone. The results are crispier and more detailed pictures and more convincing videos. Furthermore, many will appreciate the fact that the Storm's screen features a more traditional 4:3 ratio, compared to Apple's slightly more rectangular 9:6 ratio.

(f) File Support

The Blackberry supports a host of audio and video file formats including Microsoft's WMV and WMA/WMA ProPlus which neither Android, nor iPhone back. And it can even synchronise with Apple's iTunes.

(g) Tethering

You will be able to use the Storm as a stand alone USB dongle broadband modem for your laptop. Apple formally forbade this feature and removed an application (opens in new tab) that was specifically build to fulfil that need.

(h) Expandable capacity

Although it comes with only a meager 1GB microSD card, the Storm can support up to (and probably more than) 16GB, which puts it on equal footing with the rest of the competition. What's more, the memory is safely located behind the battery door (and not under the battery as this is the case for some phones).

(i) Industrywide support for Blackberry Backend Email Solution

Unlike say, Nokia which has ditched support for Blackberry's Entreprise Server (BES), Blackberry unsurprisingly supports the whole nine yard including AES or Triple DES encryption, a boon for security-minded organisations.

(j) MMS

Multimedia Messaging System? iPhone, for some reason, chose not to include it. But the Storm has it by default which means that you should be able to send images via text even if you don't have access to the wireless connectivity.

So in conclusion, the Storm is a great smartphone as it stands now. It would be interesting to see how Vodafone, which has been given the exclusivity outside the US, will go along marketing it.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.