BlackBerry cooks up a Storm

RIM's first touch-screen handset, exclusive to Vodafone.

The BlackBerry Storm

The BlackBerry Storm

RIM today unveiled the world’s first touch-screen BlackBerry device, the BlackBerry Storm 9530.

Claimed to have the world's first “clickable” touch screen, the BlackBerry Storm supports single and multi-touch gestures, but also provides haptic feedback when keys are pressed on the screen — unlike Apple’s iPhone 3G. The 3.25in display slightly depresses when pressed, similar to the feeling of pressing a key on a physical keyboard or a button on a mouse. RIM claims this dramatically enhances the touch interface and results in an intuitive typing experience. Despite being a full touch-screen device, the Storm includes familiar navigational keys including phone, menu and escape.

“We are proud to introduce the first touch screen–based BlackBerry smartphone”, said Mike Lazaridis, president and co-chief executive officer at RIM. “The BlackBerry Storm is a revolutionary touch-screen smartphone that meets both the communications and multimedia needs of customers and solves the longstanding problem associated with typing on traditional touch screens. Consumers and business customers alike will appreciate this unique combination of a large and vibrant screen with a truly tactile touch interface.”

The HSDPA-capable Storm also features a 3.2-megapixel camera, a 3.5mm headphone jack, 1GB of on-board memory and a built-in accelerometer. Built-in GPS supports geotagging of photos, while a microSD/SDHC memory card slot supports up to 16GB of additional storage.

RIM has revealed that the Storm will be sold exclusively with Verizon Wireless in the US and Vodafone in Australia, Europe, India and New Zealand. A BlackBerry spokesman declined to comment on Australian pricing or launch details, but the handset is expected to hit the market before the end of the year.

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