BlackBerry Storm2 Coming to Verizon Wireless Oct. 28

Verizon Wireless announces that, like Vodafone, it will be offering RIM's update to the touch-centric Storm. The Storm2 features BlackBerry OS 5.0, a faster browser and SurePress typing technology that's said to be improved.

Following Vodafone's Oct. 15 announcement, Verizon Wireless announced that it, too, will offer Research In Motion's BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone beginning Oct. 28. The smartphone will be priced, after a $100 mail-in rebate, at $179.99 with a two-year contract.
The Storm2 is a fully touch-screen device with a 3.25-inch high-resolution display with a resolution of 480 by 360 pixels and 184 pixels per inch. It offers 3G, 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity, as well as voice calling in 220 countries, data access in 185 and 3G in 80 of those. It's compatible with EV-DO Rev. A, 2,100MHz UMTS/HSPA and quad-band EDGE/GPRS/GSM networks, and it features SurePress technology, which is said to make the experience of typing on the touch screen both easy and very much like typing on a true keyboard.
The original Storm, RIM's first touch-screen device, was roundly criticized, and in response RIM not only added the Wi-Fi connectivity but improved SurePress, threw in a 2GB memory card and updated the Storm2 to BlackBerry OS 5.0, which is said to offer better typing accuracy, usability and visual enhancements, and more use of animation.
Analyst Avi Greengart, with Current Analysis, told eWEEK that the Storm2 feels "a lot tighter" than the original Storm. "The screen/press typing experience is still more wearying than simply touching a capacitive touch screen-like the iPhone or Android, or the Storm itself-but it works a lot better this time around," Greengart said.
Ken Dulaney, with Gartner, isn't so impressed with the upgrade, believing the Storm2 still faces many of the Storm's issues-"RIM has done about what they could do to improve things without changing the hardware," Dulaney told eWEEK-while Ken Hyers, with Technology Business Research, believes the device faces "an uphill slog" against the iPhone, while still feeling hopeful about its overall chances.
"I believe that Verizon will provide considerable promotional backing to the Storm2 and that RIM is likely to see the Storm2 turn out to be one of RIM's biggest sellers to date," Hyers told eWEEK after the Vodafone announcement. "The device provides the clearest bridge between the corporate and consumer world of any BlackBerry yet and will prove very popular with customers this holiday season."
RIM has improved the browser on Storm2, enabling it to support Google Gears and SQLite BlackBerry Widgets-which are said to be good news for developers-as well as speeding up JavaScript and CSS processing. Customers running the BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0 can now set follow-up flags, manage e-mail folders, access remote files and more.
The Storm2 additionally features 256MB of flash memory, a 3.2-megapixel camera with auto-focus and video capabilities, a media player for videos, pictures and music, a 3.5mm stereo headset jack and built-in GPS for location-based applications such as Verizon's VZ Navigator.
It also can be used as a modem to a laptop, using Verizon Wireless' Broadband Connect tethering service. Its battery offers 5.5 hours of talk time or up to 11.2 days of standby, and data plans start at $29.99 a month when added to a nationwide voice plan.