Verizon Details BlackBerry Storm Global Service Rates

Andrew R. Hickey
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3G BlackBerry Storm

According to Verizon, global connectivity is a key component for the BlackBerry Storm. With that in mind, Verizon is offering voice service in 200 destinations and data service in more than 150 locations worldwide.

"The BlackBerry Storm allows for roaming in South America and Japan and also provides 3G data speeds on select international networks, giving customers high-speed connectivity when they're abroad," Verizon said.

Verizon said Thursday that the BlackBerry Storm comes preinstalled with a SIM card—a rarity for a Verizon device—so customers who plan to travel abroad can activate global service at the time of purchase by calling Verizon Wireless prior to leaving the U.S. For frequent global travelers, Verizon is offering a Global Value Plan that delivers discounted roaming charges on calls made to and from 130 countries for $4.99 per month.

In addition, Verizon is offering BlackBerry Storm users GlobalEmail on the device, which offers access to corporate e-mail and attachments, along with personal or POP3 e-mail accounts both abroad and in the U.S. The unlimited GlobalEmail plan offers full-rate data pricing and covers Web browsing, picture messaging and Visual Voice Mail in the U.S. and overseas. GlobalEmail Data Plans will be available for $69.99 monthly for a stand-alone data plan and $64.99 per month when added to any voice plan.

Business users who have five or more lines will also be able to purchase a GlobalEmail plan for the BlackBerry Storm by calling Verizon directly.

The BlackBerry Storm marks BlackBerry maker Research In Motion's first foray into the touch-screen device market, pitting it head to head against other notable touch-screen titans like the Apple iPhone 3G and the recently released Google Android-based T-Mobile G1.

The Storm comes hot on the heels of BlackBerry's first 3G device, the BlackBerry Bold 9000, hitting AT&T stores this week after seemingly endless delays. While the Storm is expected to be available in stores sometime this month, there has been speculation around the price and availability of the Storm, which has yet to be announced. Verizon, however, has hinted that an unsubsidized BlackBerry Storm would cost around $500. Combined, the Bold and the Storm have become the two most coveted devices in BlackBerry's 10-year history. And while the Bold is making waves, some users are waiting to buy the BlackBerry Bold to see how the Storm shapes up.

The BlackBerry Storm, which features what RIM is calling a "clickable" touch screen that depresses slightly with a tap and clicks to tell the user the action has been taken. The touch screen measures 3.25 inches with 480 x 360 resolution 184 ppi. The smartphone operates on Verizon Wireless' 3G EV-DO Rev A. network in the U.S., promising fast data rates and Internet surfing.

The device offers a full HTML browser that supports file downloads, streaming audio and video and built-in RSS support. On the multimedia side, the Storm offers 1 GB of onboard memory storage and a microSD/SDHD memory card slot to support up to 16 GB of additional storage. The built-in media player can play movies in full-screen mode, display pictures and slideshows and manage music collections. The handheld also features a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack and supports Bluetooth.

The Storm also features a 3.2- megapixel camera with variable zoom, auto focus and a flash that also provides continuous lighting while recording video. Like all BlackBerry devices, the Storm also delivers BlackBerry's mobile e-mail and messaging, supporting both personal and corporate e-mail, SMS, MMS and instant messaging from most consumer and enterprise platforms. It also offers easy access to popular social networking sites, like Facebook. Similar to other new BlackBerry models, the Storm also offers built-in GPS for location-based services and geotagging of photos. The Storm, which measures 4.43 x 2.45 x 0.55 inches and weighs 5.5 ounces, features a removable and rechargeable 1400 mAhr battery with up to six hours of talk time on 3G networks and 15 days of standby time.

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