Next to the new touch-screen, the Storm's most distinctive attribute is the
host of different cellular radios with which the device is studded, which
combine to provide the Storm with support for 2,100MHz UMTS/HSPA, 850/900/1,800/1,900MHz
GSM/GPRS and 800/1,900MHz CDMA/EvDO (Evolution Data Optimized) networks. All
told, according to Verizon Wireless, the Storm should be able to keep its users
connected in most spots around the world.
Verizon Wireless is a CDMA shop, but the Storm ships with a built-in,
remotely provisionable SIM card for use with
the GSM-based networks the device supports.
I found call quality on the Storm to be about average.
In addition to its bevy of cellular radios, the Storm sports both Bluetooth
2.0 and GPS radios. Notably, however, the
Storm lacks a Wi-Fi radio. According to RIM, there was no space left for Wi-Fi
with the unit's complement of world phone radios. For now, users who value
Wi-Fi in their smartphones will have to stick with keyboard-based RIM devices,
or jump ship to the iPhone or G1.
RIM's BlackBerry Storm by the numbers.
Click here for a complete spec sheet.
However, the Storm does offer a set of smartphone amenities that the iPhone
does not, beginning with an SD card slot (prepopulated with an 8GB card) for
peripheral expansion beyond the Storm's slim 128MB of built-in Flash storage.
Also, the Storm features a removable battery, which the company rates at up
to 5.5 hours of talk time and up to 15 days of standby time between charges. In
my tests, the Storm's battery lasted through just over 6 hours of talk time.
What's more, the Storm offers all the enterprise-oriented characteristics
for which BlackBerry devices are prized in many organizations, and which the
consumer-focused iPhone lacks. For one thing, the Storm can handle upgrades to
its software over the network, where the iPhone needs to be connected to iTunes
for this to work.
Also, the Storm offers encryption of data, both for its built-in storage and
for memory cards. And the Storm comes with a "memory cleaning"
feature that deletes sensitive data from the unit's temporary memory in certain
circumstances, such as when you insert your device in a holster, lock the
device or synchronize with your computer. In addition, the Storm offers an
optional content protection feature that will, for instance, block a calling
contact's name from appearing on the display of a locked device.
The new touch-screen BlackBerry also provides granular support for
controlling third-party application permissions, such as allowed network ports,
levels of access to other applications on the device, and control over
Bluetooth, GPS, Phone and USB
eWEEK Labs Executive Editor Jason Brooks can be reached at email@example.com.