“BlackBerry fans who’ve been yearning for a touch-based handset à la iPhone now have one, but the BlackBerry Storm–which Verizon Wireless plans to start selling Friday for $250 with a two-year contract–might not be the smart phone of their dreams,” Yardena Arar reports for PC World.

“The decision by Research in Motion to differentiate the Storm by giving its capacitive touch screen a mechanical component (the entire screen functions as a button for confirming selections or initiating actions) turns out to be more confusing than helpful. Ultimately, the Storm’s touch interface feels like a failed experiment,” Arar reports.

“It’s too bad, because the Storm has some nice features and makes a great first impression,” Arar reports.

MacDailyNews Take: Because they’re mimicking Apple’s iPhone. Because they have no original ideas – or, more precisely, the one original idea they do have “feels like a failed experiment.”

Arar continues, explaining that the Storm offers “a GPS receiver and Bluetooth, but no Wi-Fi… The touch-screen interface differentiates the Storm from its RIM brethren–and there I was disappointed… I found the Storm awkward to use for everyday data entry tasks… In my tests, things sometimes didn’t work… I’d tap a menu item, for example, but then when I depressed the screen, the selection would somehow shift and a different item would execute. At times it was difficult to figure out what action was required… Scrolling was generally slow, too.”

“Typing on the Storm isn’t much fun, either. You have to click the screen keyboard for each keystroke (the keys flash blue under your fingertips as you click), which ends up feeling like a lot of work in a way that typing on a hardware keyboard (or on the iPhone’s software keyboard, for that matter) never did,” Arar reports.

“Where touch wasn’t a major issue, the Storm functioned well,” Arar reports.

MacDailyNews Take: Verizon’s big slogan for the Storm? “Introducing the world’s first touchscreen BlackBerry.” We imagine the email from Verizon Wireless CEO Lowell McAdam to the marketing department: “Ixnay on the ouchscreentay!”

Arar continues, “People who were hoping for a credible iPhone alternative fortified with BlackBerry’s strengths as a mobile tool for corporate travelers will likely find the Storm a disappointment. When it comes to touch interfaces, Apple still has no peer.”

There’s much more in the full review, including review video in which Arar calls the Storm’s software keyboard on a mechanical screen, “The worst of both worlds,” here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “AMEX” for the heads up.]

Well, now, there’s a nice premiere review. smirk

“It’s the same old, same old in an iPhone-inspired wrapper… You can judge the distance behind and overall cluelessness of iPhone’s future roadkill by the amount they copy the iPhone’s exterior… This ceaseless quest to dress up antiques in Apple veneer is pathetic and sad… The question I’m left with for [all] of these companies rolling out imitation iPhones this year is: Exactly how stupid do you think your customers are?” – SteveJack, MacDailyNews, April 01, 2008