My college roommate upgraded to a BlackBerry Storm on Monday. In light of the stinging review in today’s New York Times, I just had to pay him a visit for some hands on time with the new BlackBerry to see what all the fuss was about. As you know, the BlackBerry Storm is Research in Motion’s first try at a touch screen device. I didn’t work with it long enough to tell if there are stability issues. Speed seemed adequate, if a little laggy in places, but I still think there’s one big missing feature that hardly anyone has talked about.
Take a look at the image above. On the left is the Facebook application for BlackBerry as accessed via the menu on the Storm. It actually leads you to a quaint 1980′s-ish looking mobile optimized site.
On the right is my iPhone with the Facebook application loaded. From within the iPhone application I can do almost anything that I can do on the desktop including chat and picture uploads.
This is probably the BlackBerry Storm’s biggest weakness. There simply aren’t as many applications that take advantage of the larger BlackBerry Storm screen. And I question whether there EVER will be.
The BlackBerry Facebook application is embarrassingly bare bones. And BlackBerry has been out far longer than iPhone. Take a look in the iPhone App Store and compare it to what’s available for the BlackBerry Storm.
I love that the BlackBerry Bold has a removable battery. In my opinion the iPhone 3G should have had one too. Apple made a mistake in not designing the device to facilitate a removable battery.
I like that when you rotate the BlackBerry Storm to landscape that the keyboard becomes a full QWERTY layout. I think the portrait mode where the keyboard is a SURETYPE layout will turn a lot of people off. It’s simply too hard to type with the Suretype keypad in portrait – especially for abbreviations.
Based on about 1/2 hour of typing, I think ultimately my accuracy on the BlackBerry Storm would not be any better or worse than on the iPhone. The biggest problem I had with the Storm was the same issue that the New York Times raised. There’s not much reason for requiring anyone to press the screen lightly first and then harder to click the key. I didn’t find the feedback of pressing the keys any more helpful than pressing on the regular iPhone touch screen.
The BlackBerry Storm has a few other weaknesses that turn me off:
- Lacks Wi-Fi support (the next biggest flaw aside from lack of apps)
- Can’t play iTunes purchased (DRM protected) music
- Suretype keyboard in portrait orientation
The BlackBerry Storm is good for you if:
You are in the middle of a Verizon contract
You want a large screen BlackBerry
You won’t send many emails or expect to take many notes
You don’t care about running third party applications
Otherwise, there are many other better choices. For heavy emailers and BlackBerry addicts – Amazon has lots of BlackBerry devices on sale that are free or up to $99 BACK after rebate.
If you need the latest model BlackBerry – consider the BlackBerry Bold which includes Wi-Fi and the latest OS that will run all the same applications as the Storm.