updated 04:10 pm EDT, Fri October 23, 2009
Storm2 launch timing gives Droid spotlight
Verizon may be timing the launch of its BlackBerry Storm2 to draw as much attention away from it as possible, a telling report may show. A seemingly final document given to Engadget has the Storm2 shipping on October 28th, the same day as the Motorola Droid is known to make its high-profile debut. The move would guarantee less attention paid to the updated BlackBerry and would be made all the more prominent by Verizon's decision to remain silent about the phone during its worldwide launch just two weeks earlier.
Rescheduling a phone to deliberately overlap its release with another's is not uncommon in the US cellular industry but is traditionally used to group multiple less important phones together or else to avoid distracting from a preferred model with a separate release in close proximity. Verizon has so far heavily promoted Droid on TV and in online campaigns while publicly ignoring the Storm2.
The change in attitude may be a public rejection of the Storm2 as a possible flagship for the carrier following the disappointing performance of the original. A design whose controls drew frequent complaints about its click-down screen, as well as a rushed launch that resulted in bug-ridden firmware, contributed to sales of the phone rapidly cooling down after the initial rush. The Droid by comparison is more advanced than the Storm2 and reinforces many of Verizon's more recent initiatives, including open development; it has helped the carrier position the phone as an iPhone rival, a position previously occupied by the first Storm.
Verizon may regardless push the Storm2 as a relatively low-cost alternative, pricing it at $180 on contract with a 16GB microSDHC card bundled in. The price would only follow after receiving a $100 mail-in rebate.