Either a Photoshop wizard with a knack for the subtle and boring has just created a masterpiece, or the first legitimate photos of the Blackberry Storm 2 have hit the web. The pictures confirm the statements Research in Motion, the most dominant player in the smartphone industry, had previously made regarding the second generation Storm.
The phone, codenamed "Oden", after the Norse god of storms, hopes to offer improvements where the original Storm had shortcomings. However, hardware-wise the phone is remarkably similar to its predecessor, which helps to lend credence to the photos.
The phone's back is identical -- a dark gray brushed aluminum case with a 3.2 MP camera with autofocus and flash mounted above it. The front looks a bit different, though, as the click buttons for call, menu, back, and terminate have been switched to touch screen buttons. Likewise, the side is slightly changed with rocker switch for volume and the camera button becoming more rounded and shifting from chrome to the same gray/black of the rest of the casing.
One trouble spot could be the headphone jack. Whereas the Storm had a flat jack, perfect for any headphone model, the Storm 2 appears to have joined the iPhone in having a recessed jack. Looks may be deceiving, but it could hint that Blackberry is hoping to gain more control over its headphone and accessory sales.
The phone, according to sources, is the GSM version. Among its rumored new features are Wi-Fi, GPS and a supposedly "new approach to text entry". However, the most critical thing to the phone's reception will likely be what's inside. The first Storm was slow and unresponsive; between its processor, chipset, and OS, the Storm 2 will have to remedy this or risk getting blasted by critics.
The Storm 2 is rumored to be set for a September release on Verizon. Other reported Blackberries soon to be released include phones codenamed Gemini and Onyx/Driftwood.