updated 07:50 am EDT, Mon October 26, 2009
BBerry Storm 2 and BB OS 5.0 for Verizon
After waiting nearly two weeks past the original launch, Verizon today unveiled its own version of the BlackBerry Storm2. Its version adds CDMA and EVDO Revision A for its own phone and 3G networks; quad-band GSM/EDGE and single-band 2,100MHz HSPA 3G give it roaming in most other areas. The US carrier also includes a 16GB microSDHC card in the box to put it more on par with the 16GB iPhone 3GS.
Aside from these, the phone shares the same features of the Vodafone version, centering on a more advanced touchscreen that simulates physical feedback while allowing basic two-point touch. The new BlackBerry is faster, with 256MB of memory, and adds Wi-Fi that Verizon had stripped out of the original; a 3.2-megapixel camera remains in place. BlackBerry OS 5.0 comes loaded out of the box and centers on a better web browser as well as flick scrolling and better messaging.
Verizon is believed to be trying to downplay the Storm2 launch and plans to ship it on October 28th, the same day as it unveils the Motorola Droid as its actual planned flagship device for the holidays. The BlackBerry will cost $180, but only after claiming a $100 mail-in rebate and signing a two-year contract.
In addition to the Storm2, Verizon is addressing original Storm owners with a BlackBerry OS 5.0 upgrade that adds the browser, flick scrolling and virtually all Storm2 features that aren't hardware-specific. The software update is available for free today.
The original Storm has proven to be a source of frustration for Verizon, which had at first counted on it to rival the iPhone but failed to garner breakthrough sales beyond the initial rush, hampered in part by early bugs and the absence of Wi-Fi. The carrier eventually had to price cut the Storm multiple times to where it now sells for just $50 on contract.