Written by Shane Chiang
The BlackBerry started off as a quick and snappy messaging device for individuals —business users loved it for its functionality, but when it came to the burgeoning mobile market, Blackberry’s applications could not hold a candle to mobile giants like Microsoft with their Windows Mobile platform.
Over the past decade, since the birth of the Blackberry, parent company Research in Motion (RIM) has slowly updated its range of products, taking them from industrial to cool. In the wake of the BlackBerry Bold, Curve and Flip comes the award-winning BlackBerry Storm.
This is RIM’s first foray into the touch screen market. But it comes with a twist: The screen itself — called a Sure Press touch screen — is clickable.
The common complaint about touch screen devices is that there is no feedback from the device when you press on it. There have been small improvements, with some devices giving off a little buzz when the screen is touched. But thus far, these have not been consistently accurate.
RIM set out to solve this problem by making the entire screen of the Storm clickable; think of it as a big keyboard. What’s really clever is the Storm’s ability to locate and register where the screen has been touched, and only when the user presses down and clicks does the Storm register a letter or icon. This feature won accolades at the CEC Show ’09 in Las Vegas.
The software and operating system for the BlackBerry Storm is the same as that for the Bold, Curve and Flip. The hardware specifications are impressive: a high resolution 480 x 360 pixel color display, 65,000 colors, an auto light sensor that dims the brightness of the screen so that you may read your messages or view your photos discreetly, a 3.25-inch display. All these add up to make reading and viewing a pleasure.
The Storm also acts as a GPS — all the better for you to navigate Singapore’s challenging roads, and to locate your favorite eatery using Google Maps. It also comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can listen to music or watch a nice movie or YouTube on the wide screen of the Storm. Its accelerometer will orient the screen so you can view it in Portrait or Landscape modes. It has 1GB of internal memory, and you can easily add up to 16GB more by sliding in a MicroSD. It comes with 3G network, Bluetooth, and a 3.2 megapixel auto-focus camera — for a mobile device the BlackBerry Storm takes some of the best photos I’ve ever seen.
The battery life is staggering: 6 hrs talktime and 15 days of standby time with a 1400 mAh lithium battery.
|PHOTOS: Shane Chiang|
As for software, possibly the Storm’s most attractive features are its pre-installed applications, such as Facebook, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Google Talk and Flickr — you will be social-networked to within an inch of your life! Busy execs will appreciate the preloaded Documents to Go, which allows you to edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint on the Storm while waiting for that meeting to start.
And of course there’s the perk all BlackBerry users love — PIN fellow BB users at no cost using Messenger. All you need is to be on an unlimited data plan. It’s a money-saver for those who text message a lot.
In short, the BlackBerry Storm looks geared up to take BlackBerry from that little businessman’s email tool to a deeply enjoyable mobile device that parties as hard as it works.
The BlackBerry Storm is available from M1, Starhub and SingTel from the end of April.