Hoping For A Perfect Storm

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As rumors mount about the Storm 2, speculation is well underway about how RIM will update its touch smartphone.  We know that as work devices the current ‘Berries do a great job and these days they can also rock the tunes with Cupertino’s finest.  However in the touch market the iPhone holds the flame, as long as you don’t need to type much.  In the corporate environment many people carry two phones as a result: a ‘Berry and an iPhone.   That’s because many IT departments only support the ‘Berry, but users want the iPhone’s trick touch interface for fun stuff.  A mashup of the two devices is a logical conclusion, and behold the original Storm was duly created.

RIM even tried to raise the bar with SurePress and it was a valiant attempt, but it didn’t go quite as well as hoped.  Feedback on the screen-as-a-button-experience was lukewarm and the software wasn’t slick enough to take a device with a corporate image and sock-it to the iPhone in the consumer space.  Meanwhile feedback increasingly indicates that a certain touch device isn’t the greatest productivity device, and speculation continues about whether or not the Storm 2’s screen will be an iPhone-like non-SurePress affair.  Let’s hope pray for SurePress, because if the iPhone’s taught us anything it’s that…well you know the rest.

RIM’s intention to update the Storm signals its commitment to the touch space, which so far has been a more consumer than business focused market.  Does this mean RIM is confident enough of the Bold/Tour/Curve’s dominance in the corporate sector that it is now looking to gain a firm footing in the pure consumer sector?  If so we might see the Storm 2 being marketed so strongly as a consumer device that the corporate references will be something like “oh and by the way it gets your email too…but don’t work too hard”.  Or does Storm 2 signify that RIM has improved SurePress and the touch interface to the extent that this will truly be the killer device, bridging work and play to perfection?

Whilst many owners are happy with the Storm’s form and touch adaptation of BerryOS, the wider consumer expectation might expect something slimmer and slicker.  That means that if RIM is really going after the iPhone this time we can expect the Storm 2 to show greater divergence from the traditional BerryOS than the Storm did.  A thinner body would be welcome too.  But most importantly I still want to bang out quick emails…without iPhone-style typos.

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Neil Berman is a self-confessed gadget freak with a silicon soft-spot for mobile tech. Neil is the founder of theONbutton computer, gadget and technology help company in Durham NC. Neil has twelve years of IT career experience in the Financial Services industry in London and New York. Neil is a multi-platform supporter and believes that BerryOS, iPhone, Android, WinMo, WebOS, Symbian and others all have a role to play in our mobile world. If they made cyborg implants for a direct mobile Internet feed into the brain, Neil would have one.

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