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BlackBerry Storm 9500 review: Berry-go-round

It's not everyday that you see a BlackBerry review on our homepage but it's not like RIM routinely churn out devices like the Storm either. Messaging is still the legendary name but… well… touchscreen is the game. Keeping the business appeal of its siblings, the 9500 Storm sure stands out in the Berry crowd. But it also tries to set itself apart from the other touchscreens by promising a whole new touch experience.

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BlackBerry Storm official photos

The Canadian manufacturer RIM is walking an unbeaten path by adding unique clickability to the fluid precision of the capacitive touchscreen technology. The award-winning SurePress screen may not be everyone's cup of coffee but we're not talking teacup either, just yet.

Key features:

  • 3.25" 65K-color capacitive touchscreen of 360 x 480 pixel resolution
  • A new touchscreen experience thanks to SurePress screen
  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and 2100 MHz 3G with HSDPA support
  • 3.15 MP autofocus camera, LED flash
  • BlackBerry OS 4.7
  • 624 MHz CPU, 128 MB RAM
  • Built-in GPS and BlackBerry maps preloaded
  • 1 GB internal storage
  • Hot-swappable microSD card slot, ships with an 8GB card
  • Landscape virtual QWERTY keyboard goes as close to hardware keys as we have seen
  • Great build quality
  • Solid looks
  • 3.5mm standard audio jack
  • Bluetooth and USB v2.0
  • Really nice web browser
  • Document editor
  • Excellent audio quality

Main disadvantages:

  • No Wi-fi
  • Only BlackBerry email support out of the box
  • Interface not as quick as competitors
  • Chubbier than most touchscreen phones
  • Mediocre camera
  • No FM radio
  • No Flash support
  • Fingerprint-prone front panel

Now, this isn't one of those all-about-email BlackBerry reviews where the 9500 Storm gets only compared to its own kind, for the lack of meaningful competition. We are more than confident that the Storm does its BlackBerry thing just fine, so instead of focusing on it we'll try to give a different view of the device. Our objective is to see how it fares against all those other "regular" touchscreens that have the crowd's attention: Apples, Renoirs, Omnias, Diamonds and the likes.

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BlackBerry Storm 9500 views

Well, our approach may seem like comparing apples to oranges but only at first sight. The first thing about the Storm 9500 is the attempt to reach beyond the core group of diehard BlackBerry users. We're talking stealing some market here, so if Blackberry are playing to win, they should well be ready to take some hard beating too. First-rate email is nice and all, but the Storm will only be as good as its user interface and multimedia. For the rest (which means WLAN too) there's Curve and Bold.

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The BlackBerry Storm 9500 next to the Samsung i900 Omnia and Apple iPhone 3G

iPhone OS 3.0 is knocking on the door, launch set for 17 March

A word is out that Apple is now officially inviting representatives of the press to attend their next big announcement event on 17 March. The event will be dedicated to the upcoming iPhone OS 3.0. There's no word of an upcoming mobile phone, but our hopes are high as always. report to have received an invitation by Apple for an upcoming event with its main theme set on iPhone OS 3.0.

iPhone OS 3.0

Apple will display an "advance preview of what they're building", meaning that you probably won't see any working full-fledged iPhone OS 3.0 there (or iPhone 3 anyway). We really hope that at least some of the stuff on our wishlist will be answered - and maybe we will even be surprised by some new features.


3 INQ1 is the best handset for 2009, GSMA awards announced

3 UK's INQ1 is top of the list of winners of the 14th Global Mobile Awards basking in their glory. Last night at the National Palace in Barcelona the vote of a wide panel of judges from within the world of mobile technology, decided the winners in 7 categories.

The one we're most interested in - the Best Mobile Handset or Device - produced a quite surprising winner. The Amoi-made INQ1 for 3 UK emerged triumphant over LG KS360, T-Mobile G1, BlackBerry Storm 9500 and Nokia E71. Winning stuff was social networking - the INQ1 is tightly integrated with Facebook and, and comes with support for popular messengers like Skype and Windows Live Messenger.

3's INQ1 official photos

T-Mobile and Nokia are the two runners-up so to say, splitting the Highly Commended award in this category. The G1 was praised by the judges and T-Mobile should share credit with HTC, who actually manufactured it. The Android Platform got its share of appreciation and, with several new handsets coming in 2009, the way ahead is wide open.

The other competitors

Nokia got a firm handshake too on behalf of their E71 - the business minded QWERTY all-in-one.

Nokia also snatched the Best Mobile Internet Service award with the Nokia Sports Tracker. The application uses GPS to keep track of your workouts - jogging, running or cycling. Putting due emphasis on networking again, that workout data can be shared on the relevant website including route, speed and even pictures taken along the way.

The Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough award went to the SurePress screen of the BlackBerry Storm. The SurePress screen actually 'clicks' like a hardware button allowing the user to both hover over an item and get physical feedback from virtual buttons, a feature that has been a major challenge for touchscreens.

There were many rumors of trouble for the Storm but if anything, this award is confirms that touchscreen is the way the future's shaping and tactile feedback will play an important role in user experience.

Next year's awards promise to be even more interesting with the Mobile Innovation Grand Prix. It will focus on smaller players with pioneering products and services seeking bigger market deployment