RIM has finally announced its Blackberry Storm 2 smartphone on Vodafone from only £35 per month, albeit on a 24-month contract and nearly one year after the original storm was unveiled to the world.
But the second version of the Storm left us positively lingering for something more exceptional and 12 months after having written "10 Things We Really Love About RIM's Blackberry Storm", we found ourselves pondering on reasons why the Storm 2 is leaving us cold.
(1) The Screen
Last year, Surepress was a novelty, one which provide haptic feedback and "feels and sounds" like a true keyboard. But the experiment proved to be an embarrassing episode and was criticised by many users.
For months, the Storm remains the only touchscreen smartphone that that provide with tactile feedback and one year on, RIM says that the new Surepress will be better. We still remain to be convinced.
(2) The Platform
RIM has apparently decided to stick to the same one year old hardware. So it still sticks to the same 528MHz Qualcomm processor together with the twice amount of memory (256MB) and the same screen size/resolution (3.25-inch, 480x360 pixels).
While competition was scarce back then, it is no longer the case now. The Acer Liquid for example has a 3.8-inch screen capable of showing 800x480 pixel and comes with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, making the Storm look positively antiquated.
(3) The Camera
Again, RIM is still sticking to a 3.2-megapixel camera with a LED flash. This is not so much of an issue when compared to the iPhone 3GS. However, the rest of the competition is already ramping up the pixel counter. Sony's Satio for example packs a staggering 12-megapixel resolution.
(4) The Ecosystem
One defining evolution in the world of smartphones is the meteoric rise of applications. iPhone has an insurmountable lead compared to other platforms. There are tens of thousands of Apps for Apple's smartphone compared to around 3000 for Blackberry Appworld. This is good but certainly not enough and RIM will need to encourage developers - especially commercial ones - to code and port applications for the Storm platform.
(5) What about the Storm?
Perhaps the biggest issue that RIM will face is what to do with the original Storm itself. The phone is currently available from Vodafone for £30 per month, £5 less than what the Storm 2 will cost and to make things more complicated, the Storm 2 will be a Vodafone exclusive for a few weeks only. Vodafone has also quietly gotten rid of the Storm on its website also it is still available at third party retailers like Phones4U.