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BlackBerry Storm 2 Releasing On October 28th, 2009

BlackBerry Storm 2

The BlackBerry Storm2 9550 finally delivers on the original Storm 9530’s promise. The Storm2 looks a little sleeker and more refined. Essentially, it consists of fewer moving parts. This highly anticipated phone is finally going to be released by Verizon. It has several new features and tweaks that current storm users will love. New users will love it as well.

BlackBerry Storm 2
BlackBerry Storm 2

What’s New
So what’s new in the Storm 2? Here’s a quick rundown…

  • New touchscreen w/ SurePress technology
  • Configuration of buttons, or lack of them
  • 256mb of memory (128mb in Storm)
  • 2gb of internal storage (Storm has 1gb)
  • BlackBerry 5.0 OS
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
  • Internet Browsing is faster

The Screen / Typing
The new touch screen with SurePress technology is the first thing you’ll notice. It’s hard to describe without actually using the phone, but it somehow feels like you’re typing even though you aren’t actually pressing a button with your finger.

  • Compared to the original Storm, instead of feeling like one big washy button, the SurePress feels more even, accurate, and more responsive. The corners of the screen function much better.
  • ‘Mushiness’ is gone.
  • Contrast is better (see pics)
  • You can type faster on the Storm 2 without typos
  • Multitouch capabilities have been added to the screen. This is one reason typing is so much better on the Storm 2; because it can register two different places at once. You can now press alt + shift. This also opens up possibilities for other multitouch applications.
  • The screen doesn’t move from side to side and show backlight through the cracks like with the original.
  • When the device is locked, you cannot press the screen.
  • Face detection! When you’re on a call the phone knows that it is up to your face (via a proximity sensor). No more accidental face muting and speaker phone!

BlackBerry Storm 2

Cosmetic
The second thing you’ll notice is some slight cosmetic changes:

  • The buttons at the bottom of the Storm 2 are now part of the screen (send, menu, back, end)
  • The chrome outline of the phone is now more of a gunmetal
  • The speaker for the speaker phone has been moved from the back to the bottom. There are no rubber ‘feet’ on the back of the phone that prevent it from laying flat.
  • The headset port is now flush with the casing
  • The back material is just about the same, but instead of two push clips there is just one clip in the middle. Inside the cover is some rubber material for deadening and, I assume to prevent things from moving around.

Other then the above the two devices are almost identical in size and could easily be mistaken for one another.

Memory / Speed
Ah, some relief from laginess!

  • The Storm 2 has more memory (256mb compared to original’s 128mb). It’s more snappy.
  • Opening programs, taking pictures, and the hated lock button lag have all been relieved (the camera still isn’t as fast as I’d like but it’s faster than the original).
  • The browser has been updated and is faster at rendering pages.
  • BlackBerry 5.0 OS is also more streamlined and packs several new features of it’s own, including inertial scrolling with snap back.
  • Expandable memory up to 16gb, for a total of 18gb!

Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi! This one has Wi-Fi! It seems that Verizon is loosening its belt a little! The Wi-Fi is definitely a great addition.

Web Browsing
The internet browser performs better than the latter. Unfortunately RIM didn’t take advantage of the multitouch feature here to zoom in and out like iPhone users are used to. It still doesn’t seem as fast at rendering pages as Opera Mini either, and it’s still lacking tabs, but if you want you can just download Opera on the phone.

Threaded SMS
This is an improvement that a lot of people will like. Below is an image of the same conversation on a Storm and a Storm 2. Notice how much more condensed the conservation is on the Storm 2. It’s also in the order you’re used to when using IM programs. When you touch a message, the time the message was sent appears in the upper right. It really bugged me on the Storm that you have to do menu > send to send a text. With the Storm 2 you can press the enter key to send a message. Oh, and they also added smilies

Camera & Media Functions
Unfortunately, the camera is basically the same, besides being a bit faster from when you press the button to when it actually takes the picture. It doesn’t perform well in low light conditions despite the flash. The menu has been updated a bit though; ‘Send As…’ condenses the many options you can have to send a picture into one menu item. Once you select a way to send the picture you are now given the option to resize the photo. There’s also a new option to turn auto-focus off, or set it to a close-up mode.

The music player has a new song slider a la iPhone along with shuffle and repeat buttons under it. There is also a new option menu for the music player complete with headset EQ, audio boost, and appearance controls.

I can’t spot any changes in the video player.

Applications
I’m still confused as to why BlackBerry App World doesn’t come preloaded, but Application Center does. Having both seems redundant, but why not ditch Application Center? Regardless you can download BlackBerry App World and get access to the thousands of applications that are available for your BlackBerry. CPF currently has a list of these applications here: BlackBerry – Cell Phone Apps

Conclusion
The BlackBerry Storm 2 is a great phone. A lot of people who already have a Storm will be upgrading, I’m sure. There will also be a lot of first time users that will absolutely love the features of this phone. RIM really listened to what people wanted in a phone this time. They continue to churn out quality phones that will make a lot of people happy with their purchase.

The BlackBerry Storm 2 will be available October 28th, 2009 in Verizon stores

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