BlackBerry Storm2 Now Available from Verizon Wireless

The BlackBerry Storm2, which is said to be considerably improved from the original Storm, is now available on the Verizon Wireless network. It features Wi-Fi, BlackBerry OS 5.0 and updated touch-screen functionality.

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The BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone is now available in the United States on the Verizon Wireless network.
Like Apple's iPhone, it's a touch-screen-only device. And while the original Storm faced considerable criticism, Research In Motion is quick to point out that it has updated the Storm2, which officially went on sale Oct. 28, in several ways.
These include an update to BlackBerry OS 5.0, which is said to deliver better usability and more accurate typing and selections, and an improved BlackBerry Browser with faster JavaScript and CSS processing, plus support for Gears and BlackBerry Widgets. New capabilities have also been added for customers running the BlackBerry Enterprise Server 5.0, such as the ability to access remote files.
BlackBerry OS 5.0 is RIM's first operating system to support Google Gears and SQLite for BlackBerry Widgets, and so the Storm2 is, in addition to a consumer and enterprise contender, being positioned as a developer-friendly device, and RIM has updated the beta release of the BlackBerry Java Development Environment (JDE) 5.0 for building Java-based applications.
RIM's lack of applications, compared to Apple's portfolio, will present a challenge to the BlackBerry-maker - an "uphill slog," as analyst Ken Hyers, with Technology Business Research (TBR) described it to eWEEK - even if, with the Storm2, RIM has remedied the issues identified with the Storm. In a March 2009 Gartner report, analyst Ken Dulaney detailed these as including a "difficult-to-control browser" and a touch-screen problem. Though the report went on to state, "We hope RIM will not abandon the effort, since we believe that the company's engineering talent can design great products."
With these problems solved - RIM additionally added WiFi connectivity to the Storm2, and one analyst with early access described the Storm2 as a much "tighter" device - TBR's Hyers expects the Storm2 to "prove very popular with customers this holiday season."
While several manufacturers have rolled out new product in anticipation of the upcoming shopping season, analyst Roger Kay, with Endpoint Technologies, points out, "Remember, Blackberry is a business tool. So, holidays shouldn't be as important to RIM as they are to, say, Apple."
RIM, Kay believes, has broken into the consumer market with limited success.
"Nonetheless," he said, "it continues to improve the aesthetics of its devices, hoping to garner more interest from consumers. Since the phone wars are shaping up to be the most competitive arena in the tech industry, all players have to constantly improve their offerings just to stay in the game."
The Storm2, is priced at $179.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate, with a new two-year service contract for a voice plan with email and Web or Verizon's email and Web for BlackBerry plan. Data plans begin at $29.99.

In time for the holidays, Vodafone will also be offering the Storm2 in the U.K., Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and South Africa.