updated 03:35 pm EDT, Tue October 7, 2008
BBerry Storm Tomorrow
The BlackBerry Storm should finally receive a more formal announcement as early as tomorrow, RBC analyst Mike Abramsky claims in an investment note issued today. The researcher expects RIM's first touchscreen smartphone will be announced this week and may appear on Wednesday in London. The venue would likely be used chiefly for the phone's launch on Vodafone but should be accompanied soon if not immediately by news of a Verizon model for the US.
Both carriers are known to consider the Storm crucial to their businesses from November and through the holiday season, spurring Verizon to create anti-iPhone comparisons in a bid to have staff counter arguments from customers wavering in their decisions. The 3.2-megapixel camera, CDMA and GSM support, and removables such as the battery and storage have all been touted as improvements over Apple's hardware.
Abramsky doesn't expect either carrier to initially compete well against the iPhone 3G, however, and estimates that Canada-based RIM may at most sell 850,000 Storm units between the fall and early winter. First-year sales under this model would top out between three and four million phones, which would compare against Apple's official goal of shipping 10 million iPhones in 2008 alone.
The absence of Wi-Fi on the Storm may hamper it versus the iPhone, the analyst adds, as it forces users to rely on the 3G network even when coverage is poor. It also puts added load on the Verizon and Vodafone networks where very high-bandwidth activities could be sent to the Wi-Fi network, as happens with Apple's iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store or large App Store downloads.
Concerns have also been raised about the BlackBerry Application Center, which will offer App Store-like functionality but depend solely on 3G and let carriers ban apps that might compete with their own services.