RIM BlackBerry Storm2 Smartphone Coming to Vodafone Network
One more smartphone for the holiday shopping lists?
Research In Motion has officially introduced the much-whispered-about BlackBerry Storm2. And while Verizon Wireless, which supports the original Storm, may eventually host it in the U.S., RIM's Oct. 15 announcement came in partnership with Vodafone, which through the holidays will offer the Storm2 in the U.K., Ireland, France, Italy, South Africa and exclusively in Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.
As rumored, the Storm2 does include WiFi (802.11 b/g), as well as offer global connectivity on UMTS/HSPA (2100MHz) and quad-band EDGE/GPRS/GSM networks.
According to RIM, the Storm2 also significantly improves on BlackBerry's touch-screen platform. While some enthusiasts expected to see "TruePress" technology, RIM's announcement says it offers a new version of SurePress, the technology that offers "tactile feedback" to make typing on the on-screen keyboard feel more like using a true keyboard.
"The new SurePress technology also allows the user to type a letter with one thumb even while their other thumb may still be touching or resting on another letter, enabling faster typing and multi-key actions such as Shift or Alt-key combinations," states RIM in the announcement.
The Storm2 additionally offers BlackBerry OS 5, which is said to offer usability and visual enhancements, plus a more responsive user experiences. It also allows users to set up follow-up flags, similar to Microsoft Office Outlook, to manage Microsoft Exchange email folders, to access, save, view, edit and email documents from remote file shares, to forward appointments and view calendar attachments, and to enjoy several wireless sync options, such as syncing distribution lists and contacts in public and shared folders.
The Storm2 features a 3.25-inch high-resolution display and 3.2-megapixel camera, just like the Storm. The RAM has jumped up, however, to 256MB of Flash memory and 2GB of onboard memory. A microSD/SDHD card slot supports 16GB cards and 32GB when they become available.
Pricing is said to depend on each country's operating company. Vodafone U.K. will offer the Storm2 for free with a two-year contract that includes 600 minutes of talk-time, unlimited BlackBerry Internet Service, unlimited text messaging and unlimited access to Vodafone Mobile Internet and broadband for 35 British pounds, or approximately $56, a month.
An October J.D. Power and Associates study on customer service found the Apple iPhone to be ranked higher than BlackBerry devices, even by enterprise users. Though BlackBerry, which has been called the gold standard for enterprises, now enjoys an audience that's equal parts consumer and enterprise customers.