updated 08:35 am EDT, Wed October 28, 2009
Verizon ships Storm2 but now criticized
Verizon as promised has begun selling the BlackBerry Storm2 online and, later today, through its retail stores. The touchscreen smartphone costs $180 after an immediate online discount but only reaches the same price at retail after a $100 mail-in rebate. Notably, however, the carrier is already putting the phone in its Buy One, Get One promo and will let buyers get a second Storm2 for free.
However, the phone is already facing criticism from at least one early review for an overly conservative update. While the piezo feedback screen and faster performance address flaws in the original design, ZDNet notes that very little has changed in the actual features of the phone in a year's time. BlackBerry OS 5.0 is believed still poorly suited to touch, as many of the sub-surface menus are still largely text-based holdovers designed for a trackball or trackpad; it also still insists on SureType's two-letters-per-key input method and on physical pressure to type, either of which slows down input versus a pure touchscreen.
The ergonomics, video recording, Wi-Fi and more touch-optimized elements are all given compliments but are seen as overwhelmed by RIM's insistence on drawing a link back to its legacy with hardware keyboards. By trying to appeal to both veteran BlackBerry owners and touchscreen users it ends up serving neither, according to the site's Andrew Nusca.
To improve will "require a complete change of mindset at the company," Nusca says. "For too long, RIM has lived off the spoils of its successful and dominant QWERTY handsets... The problem with the Storm2 is that it still resembles its predecessors. It's certainly not revolutionary, and it's barely evolutionary."