updated 12:25 pm EDT, Tue May 19, 2009
BBerry Storm 2 End of June
RIM's BlackBerry Storm sequel could launch soon enough to be a surprise response to the next iPhone, a leak said on Tuesday. A claimed reliable, senior Verizon source for BlackBerryOS says that the cellular provider should wrap up training on the phone soon and launch it no later than the end of June. The tip also claims the phone will have Wi-Fi, which was omitted with the Storm due to Verizon's anti-Wi-Fi policy that is poised to come to an end.
If true, the new model would represent a quick abandonment of the Storm and likely a quick phase-out of support for the old phone, which has sold well but drawn complaints for both infrequently updated firmware as well as the slower typing forced by the distinctive click-down screen. At least one rumor as well as recent photos hint that RIM may drop the click screen in favor of a straightforward capacitive touchscreen that also trims the phone's thickness. The company may also skip directly to BlackBerry OS 5.0 instead of supporting OS 4.7.
More definite rumors have so far only pointed to the BlackBerry Tour shipping to Verizon on July 13th; it's not known for certain if the source is referencing this instead.
RIM itself has relatively little to fear from Apple at this stage, having sold twice as many smartphones in the early part of the year. Verizon, however, has had little success garnering mass adoption for nearly any other touchscreen phone it sells and is still competing closely with AT&T for smartphone customers, many of whom have switched from Verizon to AT&T for iPhones.