Staring at my mess of a broken LG Chocolate phone I decided to make a drastic change. You see, I have been on a steady climb up the tech ladder when it comes to cell phones. I started with a crude Samsung clamshell that came with my first Verizon contract. About a year and a half I switched to the LG Chocolate, intending to use it as a music player.
In the end I hardly used the Chocolate for music, as I soon bought a 160 GB iPod that could hold all my collection. And my first Chocolate had a slew of problems, which I say I personal chalk up to poor engineering on LG's part; first the buttons became unresponsive, then the microphone pickup began to die -- people couldn't hear my calls. After a stiff talk with some Verizon folks I got my phone warrantied. After several more months, my phone began to develop a crack on the screen. Whether this was somehow my doing or something that happened on the line or in shipping is immaterial -- the end result was the same -- the screen eventually died entirely.
Now, faced with the hassle opportunity of getting a new phone. Continuing my phone evolution path, I'm finally going to jump on the smartphone band wagon. While some might suspect that I would pick an iPhone, when it comes to cell phones, President-elect Barack Obama and I are on the same page -- "Yes we can (get a Blackberry)!"
Ironically, my Verizon contract reaches one year on November 21, coinciding perfectly with the release of the RIM's Blackberry Storm. Sounds like fate eh?
So why am I excited about the Storm, and why am I picking it over the iPhone? First and foremost call: quality. I know people in my area, both friends and random acquaintances, who have had problems with the iPhone reception. On a train in Chicago, I had a random exchange with one iPhone user who bemoaned the horrible call quality her iPhone had given her over the course of the last year. Further, I do a lot of travelling and if I go overseas, say to Europe, I want to have a way of getting service -- something not possible with the iPhone. Working on any GSM HSPA 3G network in the world, the Storm seems like it will be the perfect traveling companion.
Then there's email and copy & paste (C&P) which go nicely hand in hand. The iPhone lacks the latter, and does the former more clumsily than Blackberry. And while the iPhone 2.0 has come a long way in terms of email from its predecessor, all signs point to the Storm offering the superior experience.
Another reason I think the Storm could unseat the iPhone is its unique button-style screen. With every keystroke, the screen clicks like a key. From early reviews I've ascertained that this will provide a superior typing experience among the screen typing-only smartphone crowd.
Another advantage is the Storm comes with free software to read and edit MS Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Office 2007 documents. The iPhone only comes with software to read these document types.
Finally, there's the better camera. The iPhone sports a weak 2.0 MP flashless picture-only camera, but the Storm features a hearty 3.2 MP camera with zoom, auto focus, video, and a nice flash. Again, just a small perk, but it’s nice.
Both the iPhone and the Blackberry Storm both have (or in the Storm's case will have) application stores, so this is a virtual tie (though Apple will win the tie-breaker for having more Apps).
What am I concerned about? The biggest gripe I have is with RIM's browser. Stuck in the browsing stone age, it does not feature tabs. While it may get Adobe Flash before Apple, I'd pick tabs over it any day. I'm hoping RIM remedies this -- and soon -- or else Opera develops a new version of its Mini browser (Blackberry compatible) which features tabbing. I'm aware that there's a low-res browser named Minuet that does tabbing, but I think not having a modern tabbing browser is a serious omission for the storm.
Otherwise, the addition of Wi-Fi support would be nice. A little more memory (1 GB currently) might be nice as well. In all honesty I could care less about Apple's "slick touch interface" or such tripe -- some might call Blackberry's slightly-less-touch-perfect interface a negative, but I dissent.
In the end I am looking forward to the Blackberry Storm, which is now only three days away. It looks to be shaping up to be the first true iPhone killer, from a pioneer in the cell phone industry. I've seen other smart phones like the Voyager and G1 do their thing, and I haven't jumped, though I was tempted. However, the Blackberry Storm seems to tempting to resist.
I hope to be able to do an exclusive review about my impressions on the phone in coming weeks and offer some insight to potential buyers. And hopefully I'll be able to type it on the phone as an added perk (though that lack of tabbed browsing has me nervous).