updated 12:25 pm EDT, Wed July 22, 2009
BBerry Storm 2 Video
RIM's BlackBerry Storm sequel, the 9550, won't be a conspicuous overhaul of the original but should improve on the many flaws of the original, a test of a prototype shows. In spite of some rumors, CrackBerry finds the new touchscreen BlackBerry should still have the click-down screen but has a much improved response compared to today's Storm, whose screen has often been criticized for slowing down input rather than providing the physical feedback. Build quality is deemed "much nicer" than the present phone and shows fewer gaps or other breakable parts.
The handset also has more onboard memory and, like the iPhone 3GS it will compete against, should be faster without changing the fundamental experience. A previously unheard-of BlackBerry OS 5.1 release should come with the phone, but it's expected mostly to be a touch-friendly version of the upcoming OS 5.0 release.
Aside from these changes, the 9550 mostly adds Wi-Fi to the existing formula and has a very similar 3.2-megapixel camera, dual-mode CDMA and GSM support and GPS. It's unofficially anticipated to ship with Verizon in October or November and will likely appear in a GSM-focused version with HSPA 3G, known as the 9520.
RIM has largely been reluctant to enter touchscreens and hasn't said how many BlackBerry Storms it has sold since launch; while typically selling more phones than Apple in recent quarters, it has primarily credited conventional phones like the Bold and Curve 8900 for its success.