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With the BlackBerry Storm, RIM targets average Joes

November 21, 2008 |  7:00 am

BlackBerry Storm

It's now Research in Motion's turn to take a crack at the Device Which Shall Not Be Named. The maker of the BlackBerry today is unveiling the Storm, which RIM hopes will launch the e-mail device into the consumer smart phone market faster than Harry Potter on a broomstick -- and, in the process, prevent Apple's iPhone (whoops, I uttered it) from taking any more market share. The Storm is offered exclusively through Verizon Wireless.

The new BlackBerry has what RIM bills as "the world's first clickable touch screen," which means it compresses when touched and offers tactile feedback to mimic how a real keyboard feels. It also has an accelerometer, which the iPhone has, and a video camera, which the iPhone doesn't, and it lacks Wi-Fi, which the iPhone has. If you want to know more, don't worry: Verizon and RIM are spending oodles of money on ads telling you all about the Storm this holiday season.

Still, for all the hoopla about the Storm, reviews have been mixed, and many analysts are skeptical that the Storm will do what the Dare, G1 or Instinct could not: beat the iPhone at its own game. The iPhone appears pretty unstoppable right now, recently surpassing Motorola's RAZR as the top-selling handset in the U.S. Even Whoopi Goldberg has one.

For RIM, that might not be the end of the world. It can now at least breathe a sigh of relief that its loyal customers who had been wistfully gazing over at the green, green grass that is the iPhone may now stick with a BlackBerry. Maybe RIM will even attract some new customers, like those tweens who text all the time and want a tactile keyboard, or current Verizon subscribers, or people who favor devices named after weather patterns.

-- Alana Semuels

Photo: BlackBerry Storm. Credit: Verizon Wireless

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