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BlackBerry Storm debuts with app store, Mac suite on the way

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 
Research in Motion has launched its very first touchscreen smartphone -- and promises to shadow Apple's iTunes App Store while also providing an official utility to sync its phones with Macs.

Also known as the 9500, the BlackBerry Storm as revealed by Vodafone UK is the Canadian cellphone maker's first opportunity to answer Apple's touchscreen hardware and contains what could be considered a laundry list of improvements to the iPhone.

Besides including BlackBerry push email, the handset includes a 3.2-megapixel camera with autofocus and flash, a screen with "click" feedback to simulate button touches, and removables that include a battery as well as up to a 16GB memory card.

The European version destined for Vodafone supports only GSM and HSDPA-based 3G data, but a version from Verizon is known to be in the works with both this networking and the CDMA plus the EVDO-based 3G necessary for its own service.

Separately, RIM is also known to be solving a number of software problems associated with earlier rivals as well as the iPhone, albeit using an only partly modified version of the BlackBerry OS: owners will have the option to copy and paste text, for example, and have access to a full HTML browser closer to that of the iPhone.

While pricing and exact launch times are still to be set outside of a widely rumored November introduction window, the phone is already regarded as the first real hopes of both Verizon and Vodafone to draw attention lost to Apple's devices and its partners AT&T and O2. In one case, Verizon is known to have drafted counter-iPhone arguments for questions the company is certain will be asked in-store.

The Storm also signals the beginning of a larger-scale policy change towards app support at RIM. A late leak from CrackBerry appears to reveal the smartphone maker to be developing its own hub for third-party software, dubbed the Application Center. Much like the App Store for iPhones or Google's Android Market, the service will present a consistent interface and location for downloading outside software. The new BlackBerry's offering isn't understood to be independent, however: the alleged slip points to carriers selectively filtering which apps are visible in the portal to guard against offensive or simply unprofitable apps.

BlackBerry Storm and its App Center. | Image credits: CrackBerry.

This software isn't yet known to be available on launch and may appear later.

And while Mac owners may not necessarily fall in favor of the Storm upon its arrival, those that do will have a way of loading their devices with music without having to use a third-party suite or to boot into Windows, Boy Genius Report says in a sneak peek of RIM's previously announced BlackBerry Media Sync for Mac.

Similar to an iPhone, Media Sync will let users choose to sync all or only some playlists, and will give a certain amount of control over storage. Owners pick whether to load music to built-in memory or an add-in card, and have an iPod shuffle-style ability to reserve a certain minimum of free memory on their BlackBerries for more essential info.

BlackBerry Media Sync for Mac. | Image credits: Boy Genius Report.

In at least its rough form, however, Media Sync doesn't offer much else. There is currently no contact, photo or video sync, leaving those who want more out in the cold -- though BGR anticipates some or all of these features returning by the time a finished product is available.

The move is a rare gesture for RIM, which has often supplied a copy of PocketMac as a stopgap but has so far reserved its software efforts for the Windows users that form the core of its business.
post #2 of 64
Wow, you would think that RIM would actually fix their server app before launching an app store. The most fundamental thing that is losing them business is the piss poor corporate server software not the lack of apps.


Dullards

Not to mention that the handset looks like crap. Has no touch screen but features a PUSH screen (e.g. inaccurate without a stylus)

This handset will not save RIM. We have already helped 3 of our larger customers make the transition to iPhone and Exchange server (almost 850 handsets in total) over the past 3 months alone. These clients have all dropped blackberry server in favour of exchange and iPhone. (One other client has taken iPhone (52 of them) and Kerio mailserver instead of exchange to save some dosh on the server costs)
post #3 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

Wow, you would think that RIM would actually fix their server app before launching an app store. The most fundamental thing that is losing them business is the piss poor corporate server software not the lack of apps.


Dullards

Not to mention that the handset looks like crap. Has no touch screen but features a PUSH screen (e.g. inaccurate without a stylus)

This handset will not save RIM. We have already helped 3 of our larger customers make the transition to iPhone and Exchange server (almost 850 handsets in total) over the past 3 months alone. These clients have all dropped blackberry server in favour of exchange and iPhone. (One other client has taken iPhone (52 of them) and Kerio mailserver instead of exchange to save some dosh on the server costs)

That is the biggest piece of Apple Fanboi FUD I have read in a very long time. Thanks, I needed that.
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post #4 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

That is the biggest piece of Apple Fanboi FUD I have read in a very long time. Thanks, I needed that.

I disagree - that handset does look pretty crappy. The normal blackberry has a full keyboard, so the fact that it looks like crap compared to the iPhone does not matter for some people - but this phone does not have that advantage, so nobody will want it over the iPhone.
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post #5 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

Has no touch screen but features a PUSH screen (e.g. inaccurate without a stylus) ... This handset will not save RIM.

It's too bad for competition that others can't use the capacitance touchscreen. The iPhone's input method does appear to be vastly superior to other vendor options available at this point for the non-techy, non-business smartphone user which looks to be gaining considerable ground.

Quote:
We have already helped 3 of our larger customers make the transition to iPhone and Exchange server (almost 850 handsets in total) over the past 3 months alone. These clients have all dropped blackberry server in favour of exchange and iPhone. (One other client has taken iPhone (52 of them) and Kerio mailserver instead of exchange to save some dosh on the server costs)

I think this will be a trend which will lead RiM to lower its server-side HW and licensing prices drastically. I don't think it's so much because of the iPhone, but because the businesses are cutting back and the Blackberry is neither the cheapest solution up-front or for the TOC. I see WinMo devices also gaining marketshare in the next year because of this US economic trend. Symbian in the EU I have no comment on, but this could make the Symbian a little more popular in US businesses.
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post #6 of 64
I like how suddenly every software developer and hardware maker are becoming aware that there is another OS other than Windows called Mac OS. In my opinion, this a great achievement by Apple, Apple fans sites, and Mac users

I think the problem is not with the phone. I think the problem is with RIM image being business oriented the same way Apple having problem being consumer oriented.
post #7 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post

I disagree - that handset does look pretty crappy. The normal blackberry has a full keyboard, so the fact that it looks like crap compared to the iPhone does not matter for some people - but this phone does not have that advantage, so nobody will want it over the iPhone.

Looks?? It's not thin enough???
It's got a removeable battery, memory card, 3.2 mp camera- most likely records video- everything iPhone lacks and what others who haven't bought it want. Of course it depends on how it's reviewed by tech critics.
I wouldn't simply dismiss something that's not yet released. But so far some of those features seem pretty desirable IMO.
post #8 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

It's too bad for competition that others can't use the capacitance touchscreen.

Is a capacitance screen really locked away by patents and such?
post #9 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

Is a capacitance screen really locked away by patents and such?

To that question I have no idea, but Apple did buy FingerWorks in 2006, and no one else in 21 months since the iPhone was announced has used a capacitance touchscreen in their touchscreen PMP, MID or cellphone.

I've checked out all the new touchscreen devices that are available to me in the US and they all pale in comparison to the iPhone's input method. One could argue that is all the iPhone really has going for it in relation to HW, but that input method is a big deal, IMO.
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post #10 of 64
No WiFi on this so called smartphone. That's just ridiculous.
post #11 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

I wouldn't simply dismiss something that's not yet released. But so far some of those features seem pretty desirable IMO.

Just look at the screenshots - the Zune also has a lot of features, look how well it did in the market.
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post #12 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by e1618978 View Post

Just look at the screenshots - the Zune also has a lot of features, look how well it did in the market.

http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/ptech/1...ref=newssearch
post #13 of 64
That app doesn't have a whole lot of attention to detail, the main thing it provides is good contrast. The black text on medium-light gray background (even medium-dark gray on medium-light gray) isn't as much contrast as I would like for reading text on the iPhone app store.
post #14 of 64
This device may have several features beyond those of the iPhone, but the one thing it lacks is ELEGANCE! Which means that it will likely lack the viral word-of-mouth excitement surrounding the iPhone. Nobody will look at an iPhone user, pull out this device and say "You won't believe this. Just wait. Looky here at what this baby can do!"

Most people will still carry this because it's mandated by their company. Not by choice. And with RIM framing their innovation as an answer to the iPhone, they are by default placing themselves in the #2 position.
post #15 of 64
teckstud . . . The iPhone DOES, indeed, have a few "inadequacies" that the vaporware Storm device SEEMS to possess. However, the other side of your observational coin posits that the Storm does, indeed, have a few inadequacies that the iPhone possesses! How about an incomparable OS that the average person can actually understand and use? How about wi-fi? How about touch-screen patents that RIM may (or, of course, may not) have violated since they have come to this party SO DAMNED LATE?

How about originality of design and execution? How about Steve Jobs? In your wildest fantasies would you put Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis in the same ballpark as SJ? Dream on if you do.

iPhone development is innovative, vibrant, unique, and continuous. No matter what momentary advantage RIM may garner from the vaporware Storm (is it out yet?), the iPhone will trump it in the long run. It's what Apple does.
post #16 of 64
I just looked on the Vodafone site and it states that the Storm uses SureType in portrait or a full QWERTY in landscape. And one of the pictures which shows the keyboard in Portrait only has 14 keys for the alphabet - is this a Blackberry standard ? Surely if your going to have a virtual keyboard there would be one key per letter, or am I missing something ?
post #17 of 64
Quote:

That article says nothing about market share. Zune market share is 11.3% of hard drive MP3 players, and that means that it is only competing against the iPod classic (since the other iPods are flash based). Also, your article says "IPod better for most users" down at the bottom.

Gamestop dropped the Zune due to crappy sales.
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post #18 of 64
If I were Apple, I'd be worried about it. If anything, RIM has great backing in corporate IT departments USA wide, while Apple is viewed as anti-corporate. People continue with what they are used to and I'm not surprised that RIM is finding success in the consumer market due to all the exposure in the corporate market. That's a lot of leverage and branding power. With this type of advantage, the Storm doesn't have to be a better device than the iPhone, it just has to be good enough.

If it proves good enough, watch out Apple. This really means Apple has to accelerate or increase its push into IT departments and CIO mindshare, with better PIM (email, calendar, contacts) integration, better Exchange Server integration, more security features, all the stuff the corporate IT wants. Integrating MS Exchange server compatibility with Snow Leopard is the first real sign to me that Apple is going to make a push into the business world. Hopefully the iPhone OS X will get a similar push.
post #19 of 64
I hope it does not require the user to delete their apps and loose their data before they can upgrade them to a newer version.

When will they ever fix that stupid problem with the iPhone, it worked perfectly in 2.0, I have over 7 apps that need updating but I can't do it because I'll loose my scores or data, again!
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post #20 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

I hope it does not require the user to delete their apps and loose their data before they can upgrade them to a newer version.

When will they ever fix that stupid problem with the iPhone, it worked perfectly in 2.0, I have over 7 apps that need updating but I can't do it because I'll loose my scores or data, again!

I've never lost data or scores in an app update. Maybe there's a problem in specific apps (which those devs, not Apple, must fix)? For instance, I've heard people used to lose their Platinum Sudoku progress with past updates. But I've only gotten one update--their latest--and didn't lose progress, so maybe Gameloft fixed it.

Which apps have you experienced data loss in?

(P.S. There was an article posted in the past few weeks about how Apple doesn't allow 3rd-party app data to be backed up. This was completely false, and the author even apologized later.)
post #21 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by THT View Post

If I were Apple, I'd be worried about it. If anything, RIM has great backing in corporate IT departments USA wide, while Apple is viewed as anti-corporate. People continue with what they are used to and I'm not surprised that RIM is finding success in the consumer market due to all the exposure in the corporate market. That's a lot of leverage and branding power. With this type of advantage, the Storm doesn't have to be a better device than the iPhone, it just has to be good enough.

If it proves good enough, watch out Apple. This really means Apple has to accelerate or increase its push into IT departments and CIO mindshare, with better PIM (email, calendar, contacts) integration, better Exchange Server integration, more security features, all the stuff the corporate IT wants. Integrating MS Exchange server compatibility with Snow Leopard is the first real sign to me that Apple is going to make a push into the business world. Hopefully the iPhone OS X will get a similar push.

CIO = Career is over.
post #22 of 64
Shitty phone with shitty name and shitty feature. It's got Shit all over.
post #23 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by VinitaBoy View Post

teckstud . . . The iPhone DOES, indeed, have a few "inadequacies" that the vaporware Storm device SEEMS to possess. However, the other side of your observational coin posits that the Storm does, indeed, have a few inadequacies that the iPhone possesses! How about an incomparable OS that the average person can actually understand and use? How about wi-fi? How about touch-screen patents that RIM may (or, of course, may not) have violated since they have come to this party SO DAMNED LATE?

How about originality of design and execution? How about Steve Jobs? In your wildest fantasies would you put Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis in the same ballpark as SJ? Dream on if you do.

iPhone development is innovative, vibrant, unique, and continuous. No matter what momentary advantage RIM may garner from the vaporware Storm (is it out yet?), the iPhone will trump it in the long run. It's what Apple does.

I think you have just won your case. Nice job!
post #24 of 64
I have to say that is looks cheap.... somewhat '90s.....
post #25 of 64
Man, I don't care about the Storm, it's the synch program that intrigues me. I'm as much of an apple fanboi as any of you, but I gotta say, I prefer my berry for mobile e-mail, phone and contacts. The real crap has been the inability to propery marry the berry to my Mackbook Pro. If this software gets robust enough, then I'm a damned happy man.
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post #26 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by anilsudhakaran View Post

CIO = Career is over.

I don't know about you, but those CIOs made IBM and then Microsoft/Intel the dominant computing forces for 2 generations of people. If they win in the corporate world, and RIM is winning there, Apple's got a whole frelling amount of work to do to protect its consumer market. Introducing the iPhone and ensuring a successful launch was the easy part. The next phase of conquering the 800 lb gorilla, which is currently RIM in the American smartphone market, is going to be quite a bit harder. Apple has to make inroads into corporate America to protect its consumer market.
post #27 of 64
For people who prefer BlackBerry and touch interfaces, this is a big leap I think. Either way a hardware and software feature battle between RIM and Apple can only produce more capable devices faster. This is a just another nail in the coffin (hopefully) for Windows Mobile--who's decline is imminent. The RIM/iPhone battle combined with the emerging free Android OS should crush Windows Mobile market share quite nicely in the next two or three years. Good times...

Go RIM!
post #28 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by g3pro View Post

That is the biggest piece of Apple Fanboi FUD I have read in a very long time. Thanks, I needed that.


I'm sure my comment will get pulled (as almost all of them do) but I couldn't agree more.

Competition only helps all of us and as I've said many times I'm not sold to a Theology (I mean Vendor).

I am sold on technology and may the best Phone or PC win. I have the iPhone 3G but it lacks sooooooooooooooo much.
post #29 of 64
The iPhone will be un-"touchable" until other cell phone manufactures develop (or are allowed to develop??) capacitance touchscreens with multitouch.

I know microsoft is working on their surface technology which is very multitouch and pretty sure its capacitance, so not sure about apple having it locked down or other makers simply don't want to invest in it.

Maybe they think they can get away with having the most important part of the device the human/machine interaction left in the past by throwing in a flash for the cell phone camera?
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post #30 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by dizzy13 View Post

The iPhone will be un-"touchable" until other cell phone manufactures develop (or are allowed to develop??) capacitance touchscreens with multitouch.

The Storm has a multi-touch capacitive touchscreen with the whole screen riding on top of a click mechanism. It is very inventive as it solves some UI difficulties (selection versus cursor movement). Pushing on the screen is like pushing on a key. RIM needs to set it at exactly the right force, and they should be able to easily enough. Once that bit is done, tapping on the screen will feel like typing with keyboard buttons. This is a thousand times better than haptic feedback.

Make no mistake about it. Apple's much more immediate battle is with RIM which is on home turf, Apple's bread basket, and in the background the long term and coming war with Nokia.
post #31 of 64
Wow is this thread loaded with fanboys!! Anyways, I would just like to bring up a few points:
-there ARE things the iPhone lacks
--for those that travel, you can't swap the SIM card to use a local carrier
--the camera isn't great...while I don't use it very often, better quality (3MP) would be great
--I found myself mistyping a lot the couple of times I played with it at the Apple store...a stylus is annoying, a full keyboard has too small keys, but a QWERTY keyboard w/2 letters to a button is great (for me) and I like it
--sure the iPhone is only $199...but by the time you figure in the service plan into the equation, my family plan is great ($120 for 1500 minutes on two phones on T-Mobile, including data plans on both and unlimited calls to the top 5 numbers for both...why we only need 1500 min). Compare that to $150 for 1400 minutes (but we'd need more since we wouldn't get unlimited calls to 5 numbers)! Saving over 2 yr contract...$720 (plus international roaming charge$). See the point.

While the iPhone does have a few great features that make up for these shortcomings, not everyone needs the music, the better web browsing, nor the App Store. The point I'm trying to make to all of you is this: THE iPHONE IS NOT A "ONE SIZE FITS ALL"...please keep that in mind when b----ing about this phone. Some of us enjoy the ability to use other carriers to...gasp...save money and some of us don't exactly care for the better browser. While I love my Macs and love to share that love with others and spend time on sites like AI and TUAW to learn all the latest...I don't think that everything Apple touches is great for everyone...iPhone included. Sorry for the rant...but many of you needed this!!!

On a positive note, I am very happy for the new syncing software for Mac...the current software is for PPC and is very slow and always crashes 2/3 of the way through a "sync". This has driven me crazy to the point of syncing calendars manually whenever I have free time and am bored (or procrastinating). Way to go RIM for finally realizing there are Mac users in this world (now if only AutoDesk realized this)!!!

To anyone who responds...don't just post "but the iPhone has..." I care about practicality not aesthetics and touchscreen technologies yada yada.
post #32 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by THT View Post

The Storm has a multi-touch capacitive touchscreen with the whole screen riding on top of a click mechanism. It is very inventive as it solves some UI difficulties (selection versus cursor movement). Pushing on the screen is like pushing on a key. RIM needs to set it at exactly the right force, and they should be able to easily enough. Once that bit is done, tapping on the screen will feel like typing with keyboard buttons. This is a thousand times better than haptic feedback.

Make no mistake about it. Apple's much more immediate battle is with RIM which is on home turf, Apple's bread basket, and in the background the long term and coming war with Nokia.

After reading the first dozen posts or so, I was hoping SOMEONE would post some accurate information instead of all the fanboy bullshit. As you said, this phone DOES have a capacitive touchscreen, which uses a physical 'click' mechanism. (basically the entire display surface is a "button"). I don't particularly like the idea of a two-part sequence of "touch to select, then press harder to execute" though...
post #33 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by AHeneen View Post

--the camera isn't great...while I don't use it very often, better quality (3MP) would be great

As said many times before. Without bigger lens and sensor 3MP is not better than 2MP as MegaPixel thing is more as myth.

Quote:
Way to go RIM for finally realizing there are Mac users in this world (now if only AutoDesk realized this)!!!

I know... However, I am not missing AutoDesk AutoCAD and ADT since I started using Vectorworks and ArchiCAD. They are much better than ADT when it comes to 3D modeling and BIM. It is just the fact that many still living in Autodesk shadows and not willing to learn something new. I have many friends who work in A&E firms that uses ADT but they wish they could use VW or ArchiCAD instead.
post #34 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

As said many times before. Without bigger lens and sensor 3MP is not better than 2MP as MegaPixel thing is more as myth.



I know... However, I am not missing AutoDesk AutoCAD and ADT since I started using Vectorworks and ArchiCAD. They are much better than ADT when it comes to 3D modeling and BIM. It is just the fact that many still living in Autodesk shadows and not willing to learn something new. I have many friends who work in A&E firms that uses ADT but they wish they could use VW or ArchiCAD instead.

I know the megapixels aren't the only thing that determines picture quality (I like photography as something to do on trips...but not the reason I have a Mac)...but having more pixels makes for more dots per inch...which makes for a larger picture or a better picture when viewing at the same size. Six-10 megapixels doesn't make much of a difference (unless you turn your pics into large posters)...but 2-3 does (you are assuming RIM doesn't improve the sensor).

Also, I contemplated purchasing VectorWorks when I first heard of it last year (it's $120 or so for a student edition versus $400 for a 13mo AutoCAD license)...but I only had one semester of school left and decided against buying anything. Being a recent grad I'm more of the "eyes and ears" for the seasoned engineers, checking progress on site rather than sitting in an office and working on the project all the time (most of the time, at least)...I only need AutoCAD to open files to view, which saves me from spending lots of time in Windoze(BootCamp) and AutoCAD. I am thankful enough to be allowed to use my personal computer and be provided a copy of AutoCAD for it (I had to pay for Windows myself)...I'm not going to turn around and ask my manager to change software for the whole company too. Nevertheless, AutoCAD for Mac would be a dream come true.
post #35 of 64
OMG there are FOLDER icons? hahahah haven't they learned anything from windows?

And its coming in december. How does that count as having launched?
post #36 of 64
It's my understanding that Apple owns the patents on the touch-screen technology on the iPhone which is why you don't see any other phone-makers implementing it. The other players are basically using glorified Palm handheld screens. Very 1990's.
post #37 of 64
There is something very familiar about the OS on these screenshots from the OFFICIAL Storm page on Vonaphone's website

http://blackberry.vodafone.co.uk/storm/specifications/

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post #38 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

There is something very familiar about the OS on these screenshots from the OFFICIAL Storm page on Vonaphone's website

http://blackberry.vodafone.co.uk/storm/specifications/

OMG... Are they kidding?! I though you've made that up but was shocked that it was actually real!!!!

What were they thinking!!!

post #39 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by NasserAE View Post

OMG... Are they kidding?! I though you've made that up but was shocked that it was actually real!!!!

There are lot of errors and incomplete links on the page. And there doesn't seem to be any links that go to the Specification page, so I looks like it's template page with an inside joke thrown in.
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post #40 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

There is something very familiar about the OS on these screenshots from the OFFICIAL Storm page on Vonaphone's website
http://blackberry.vodafone.co.uk/storm/specifications/


Too funny...I think you can see the cingular symbol on 2 of the pictures...

Totally blatant, or someone is playing tricks...
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