PC World reviews RIM’s BlackBerry Storm: ‘Awkward, disappointing; a failed experiment’

“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


  1. I for one wish they’d done a better job, because the iPhone could stand for some real competition. It has a lot of areas it can improve, least of all the obvious “missing features” like MMS and cut/copy/paste, but also it could have more memory to hold stuff longer and not lose web pages when you open more than 1 or 2, or quit the app. The processor could be better or have some way to load complex web pages faster.

    I’m not sure what else they can do about battery power, but anything they can improve there would similarly be great.

    I expect they will incrementally improve these things, and add the features that have been missing from software, but a real competitor might make these things happen sooner.

  2. I have some news for you. Apple didn’t invent touch screen phones, they just made them popular. After the first cell phone was made were people ripping on the second company that came along with another device? I guess nobody should make slim phones because that was razr’s niche. Come on, get real.

  3. I’ll say again “9/10 times there is no competition”.
    People get hyped up whenever someone comes up with a low quality, half assed, derivative version of a great original product. What posesses these people to believe that this is ‘competition’? And they repeat it like monkeys “competition is good!” Well, if you can’t discern what actually makes someone a competitor, you shouldn’t use the phrase. If I decided to play basketball against Michael Jordan is someone going to say ” competition is good, this will only make Michael Jordan better”? These also-rans were only doing good in the face of no competition, and they weren’t innovating at all. This is painfully obvious when faced with the iphone, who is above average competition.

  4. All this iPhone imitator are very funny, because they didn’t see this coming (the iPhone), that have no idea how to make one (just in the exterior), and once they finally get to build a close competitor, they are going to be sue by Apple for patent infringements.. oh buy, I can’t wait to see that happening.

  5. twilightmoon many of the ‘improvements’ you mention aren’t in opposition phones for the same reason they aren’t in the iPhone- the simple fact that they aren’t physically possible as yet at least outside of a research lab or in such a way that they compromise other aspects of the device, or are simply to expensive at this moment to make sense. Like all devices future versions will incorporate developing technology as it becomes mature enough to warrant it. I am sure they will incorporate a time machine chipset as soon as they become available… or cheap and small enough, so be patient.

  6. MacDailyNews: Your sidebars are like an annoying 4 year old that won’t sit quietly while grownups are discussing something important. Your stupid quips ARE NOT MORE IMPORTANT than the article.

    STOP IT. At the very least put them ALL at the bottom, where they can be ignored.

  7. @Gregg Thurman

    Go to the linked article if you don’t want MDN’s interruptions.

    @ spyinthesky “many of the ‘improvements’ you mention aren’t in opposition phones for the same reason they aren’t in the iPhone- the simple fact that they aren’t physically possible as yet”

    There’s no way that the iPhone could not have more RAM and some form of swap space so that web pages could be cached. That may make the device cost more, and Apple’s profits less, but it’s hardly impossible to do. Copy/paste is impossible? Huh?

    MMS? Impossible? Huh?

    You seriously have to be joking me.

    More powerful processor and battery are inevitable, and those might be unavailable yet, but I’m certain Apple is working on custom chipsets which address both issues (faster rendering with more efficient use of battery power/life).

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

    So your telling me that this multi-million dollar investment in a touch screen phone by RIM is great as long as you don’t have to use it “touch” functions???

    Sounds like a real winner.

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