RIM Blackberry storms Canadian market

The wait is over for many Canadians who have been wondering where to get a hold of RIM’s (TSX: RIM)first touch screen Blackberry smartphone.

Research in Motion’s first touchscreen device, the BlackBerry Storm smartphone will be available at TELUS later this year on its 3G network.

As RIM’s first touchscreen device, the Storm houses a number of features such as:

A 3.25 inch high-resolution HGVA 3.25 touchscreen (480 x 360 pixels);

A 3.2 mega-pixel camera (with video capture);

A CDMA world phone that can be used in 148 international destination (includes an international charger as well);

Removable memory and battery;

Stereo Bluetooth technology;

Battery life up to 15 days (360 hours) in standby mode, six hours in talk time and plenty of hours of Internet usage; and

One GB of internal memory (expandable memory up to eight GB via a microSD slot).

The Storm will also have a virtual QWERTY and SureType keyboard that replicates the sensation of traditional keyboard typing by providing a “click” response for every key pressed. It also instantly rolls into position based on how it’s being held.

With a touchscreen interface, the largest screen size ever on a BlackBerry device and a long list of features, the Storm will be a worthy competitor to Apple’s iPhone all over the world, according to Ben Wood, analyst at CCS Insight.

Pricing will be announced in the coming weeks, according to RIM.

The Storm is the first touch-screen BlackBerry device and has what RIM calls a “clickable” screen: The user feels the screen being pressed and released, similar to the feeling of a key on a physical keyboard or a button on a mouse, which should make it easier to type, according to RIM.

The touchscreen technology is very impressive, according to Wood, who describes the 3.26-inch, 480 by 360 pixel screen as a big key. “They have reinvented the touchscreen with the Storm. It’s not as good as a qwerty keyboard but it comes close,” he said.

That doesn’t make it better than the iPhone touchscreen interface, but it is a credible competitor, according to Wood.

Research In Motion clearly has Apple in its sights, as it highlights that the Storm comes with a removable battery, support for MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) and turn-by-turn satellite navigation, all of which the iPhone currently lacks.

The Storm measures 112.5 millimeters x 62.2 mm x 13.95 mm and weighs 155 grams, compared to 115.5 mm x 62.1 mm x 12.3 mm and 133 grams for the iPhone.

Users can surf the web and download email using either EV-DO Rev. A or HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access), but there is no Wi-Fi.

“If there is one shortcoming with the Storm it’s the lack of Wi-Fi, but that is a price I’d be willing to pay,” said Wood.

The reason for the exclusion is a combination of technology and politics: there isn’t much room left inside the phone, according to Wood.

With files from Mikael Ricknäs,IDG News Service (Stockholm Bureau)

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