New BlackBerry Storm launch draws a line of buyers

Saturday, November 29, 2008 | 7:23 p.m. CST; updated 8:52 p.m. CST, Saturday, November 29, 2008
The Blackberry Storm, Verizon's first major challenge to the iPhone in the cellular market, costs $200. Verizon employees at the Columbia store hope it will be a sought-after gift for the holidays.

COLUMBIA — Buyers in Columbia stood in line last week to buy Verizon's new BlackBerry Storm, which the company hopes will knock Apple's iPhone from its pedestal.

Elyse Pickle of Columbia waited outside the Verizon Wireless dealership on North Stadium Boulevard for two hours, hoping to buy one for an upcoming trip abroad.

Comparing the phones


Price: $200

Multimedia: Audio, video, photos, games, application

Internet/Software: Web browser, BlackBerry OS apps, personal e-mail, GPS, Exchange, Lotus Notes, Novell GroupWise

Memory: Preloaded 1 GB eMMC (expandable to 8 GB MicroSD)

Battery Life: 360 hours standby; 5.5 hours talk time; removable battery

Carrier: Verizon

Data Plan: $70 a month with Global E-Mail Data Plan, which allows customers to connect in more than 130 countries



Price: $200 for 8 GB; $300 for 16 GB (with two-year contract)

Multimedia: Audio, video, photos, games, application

Internet/Software: Wi-Fi, Web browser, iPhone 2.0 (App Store) apps, YouTube, GPS, personal e-mail, Exchange

Memory: 8 GB/16 GB

Battery Life: 300 hours standby; 5 hours talk time (3G), 10 hours talk time (2G); battery not removable

Carrier: AT&T

Data Plan: $30 a month for unlimited data; $5 a month extra for 200 text messages

"I needed a global phone since I'm studying in Europe next semester," she said. "I'm happy that I waited and I really like the network, which allows me to e-mail and talk while I'm there."

The BlackBerry Storm, priced at $200, is Verizon's first major challenge to the iPhone in the cellular market. The Storm is a touchscreen phone, BlackBerry's first device without a keyboard.

The Storm's bells and whistles separate it from the iPhone, according to Verizon spokesman Mark Farnen. The touchscreen acts as a button itself, providing navigation to the phone's various features.

The device features one gigabyte of internal memory and an expandable eight-gigabyte MicroSD card, along with a 3.2 megapixel digital camera that includes flash and auto focusing.

The phone also has a copy-and-paste feature for various applications and a removable battery.

"It certainly is a true smart phone," said Farnen, a public relations consultant for Columbia's Verizon stores who oversaw the release of the Storm last week.

He said it offers full applications like Microsoft Word and PowerPoint and the ability for an integrated software link to personal or corporate e-mail.

Pickle said she plans to use Word and PowerPoint for her classes.

"I can whip some things up before class and e-mail them to my computer if I needed them. Also with the expandable memory, it will make my iPod obsolete in the sense," she said.

Verizon employees at the Columbia store hope it will be a sought-after gift for the holidays.

"People have been really excited for this phone and with the BlackBerry name, you get all the touch-screen capability with the largest 3G network," said Lynn Wyatt, manager of the Verizon Wireless outlet.

"You know for sure what buttons you're using and it has an easy navigator, which gives you easy access to directions via GPS," Wyatt said.

A spokesman for Apple and its partner, AT&T, countered that the iPhone has seen steady sales since its release in mid-2007.

Ken Steinberg, a retail sales consultant at an AT&T Wireless store in the St. Louis area, suggested that there is no real comparison between the Storm and iPhone.

"With the Apple name and AT&T connection, the iPhone is in a class of its own," Steinberg said.

Last Friday, the Columbia Verizon dealership had sold out of its first batch of Storms in less than an hour and expected additional shipments this week.

"It's got everything you need in a phone, " Wyatt said. "Pretty much anything you want to do, the phone will do it for you. That's what makes it a good product."

"I don't think it will knock Apple off its pedestal, but it should give it a good run for its money," said George Tasick of Pittsburgh, who purchased the phone while in Columbia for his company, Tasick Media.

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David Owens November 30, 2008 | 1:24 p.m.

Harrison, your article would have been much better if you had actually held the phone in your hands and put it through its paces, rather than quote self-serving suits from Verizon and RIM.

Most people who have reviewed the phone give it thumbs down. The Bold is much better for those who must have a Blackberry.

The gold standard is the iPhone. (do they sell these in Missouri?).

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand November 30, 2008 | 1:36 p.m.

No, the iPhone is not the gold standard. The vast majority of cell phones with QWERTY keyboards have physical keyboards, not virtual ones. Why? Because most users find typing on a screen to be unnatural.

(Report Comment)
Lez Hud November 30, 2008 | 7:43 p.m.

I received the invitation from VZ to "pre-order" or get on the list to order on the 17th of Nov. Called and was told I would be contacted on the 21st to do confirmation. Well, I didn't receive a call, therefore, I called VZ and had to order the phone (also all of the stores were sold out). Well, I ordered the Storm on the 21st with accessories (they pushed) normally it takes 24 to 48 hours to receive your order from VZ... well the 26th came and I called VZ again and was told there was no order in the system. Due to the fact that I ordered accessories that were not available then all of the orders were canceled. Re-ordered and will not get the phone until the 15th of December, no confirmation because they are not giving them, no order number and was told no need to call in to check because it is not going to be viewable.. just wait... (uggg)

(Report Comment)

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