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Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Touch-screen BlackBerry Storm Coming This Fall

Research In Motion will roll o

RIM said on Wednesday the BlackBerry Storm will be available exclusively to Verizon Wireless subscribers in the U.S. and Vodafone subscribers in Europe, India, Australia and New Zealand.

The launch of a touch-screen BlackBerry had been speculated for long time now and late last month, Verizon Wireless sent out a promotional e-mail that had heralded its arrival.

Designed for both consumers and business customers, the BlackBerry Storm smartphone combines the powerful communications features, global connectivity and personal productivity advantages of the BlackBerry platform with the first "clickable" touch-screen technology that responds much like a physical keyboard and also supports single-touch, multi-touch and gestures for more efficient application navigation.

The touch-screen actually depresses ever so slightly when the screen is pressed. The user distinctly feels the screen being pressed and released with a gentle "click," similar to the feeling of a key on a physical keyboard or a button on a mouse.

In addition to the familiar navigation keys ("phone," "menu" and "escape") that are common to other BlackBerry smartphones, the new BlackBerry Storm adds support for multi-touches, taps, slides and other touch-screen gestures, so customers can easily highlight, scroll, pan and zoom for smooth navigation.

In the U.S., Verizon Wireless customers will benefit from the company's high-speed 3G Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO) Revision A (Rev. A/CDMA technology ? and (2100Mhz) UMTS/HSPA and quad-band EDGE/GPRS/GSM for global use. In Europe, India, Australia and New Zealand, the BlackBerry Storm 9500 from Vodafone supports (2100Mhz) UMTS/HSPA and quad-band EDGE/GPRS/GSM networks.w

"We are proud to introduce the first touch-screen based BlackBerry smartphone together with Verizon Wireless and Vodafone," said Mike Lazaridis, president and co-chief executive officer at RIM. "The BlackBerry Storm is a revolutionary touch-screen smartphone that meets both the communications and multimedia needs of customers and solves the longstanding problem associated with typing on traditional touch-screens. Consumers and business customers alike will appreciate this unique combination of a large and vibrant screen with a truly tactile touch interface."

Other features of the Storm include a full HTML browser that works in either portrait or landscape orientation, supports file downloading, streaming audio and video (RTSP), and with its built-in RSS support, new content from supported Web sites can be automatically pushed to the user.

The BlackBerry Storm smartphone also features a built-in accelerometer, allowing its touch-screen to automatically switch between landscape mode and portrait mode as the user rotates the handset ? RIM?s SureType keyboard layout is available in portrait mode and a full QWERTY keyboard layout is available in landscape mode.

The Storm also comes preloaded with software for e-mail and managing documents, as well as a media player for music, movies and photos. It's also equipped with a 3.2 megapixel camera. The built-in GPS supports location-based applications and services, as well as geotagging of photos. The phone also comes with an 1 GB of onboard memory storage and a microSD/SDHD memory card slot that supports up to 16 GB of additional storage. It's 3.25" display supports a resolution of 480 x 360 at 184 ppi. Removable and rechargeable 1400 mAhr battery provides approximately six hours of talk time on 3G networks and 15 days of standby time. It's weight is 155g.

RIM continues to push into the broader consumer market, beyond the executives and other professionals that have been its mainstay, it will see increased competition from other handset makers.

RIM did not announce a specific release date for the Storm, nor did it offer details on pricing.

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