BlackBerry Unleashes The Storm

The arrival of BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) Ltd.'s first ever touch screen device, has been a much-awaited event among the Blackberry faithful. On Wednesday, Verizon Wireless, Vodafone and RIM wet their appetites, officially announcing the BlackBerry Storm.

While the exact availability date and pricing has yet to be announced, RIM said the BlackBerry Storm, formerly known as the BlackBerry Thunder , will be exclusive to Verizon in the U.S. and Vodafone elsewhere.The Storm, which features what RIM is calling a "clickable" touch screen, meaning it depresses slightly with a tap and clicks to tell the user the action has been taken, is BlackBerry's official answer to the Apple iPhone. The touch screen measures 3.25 inches with 480 x 360 resolution 184 ppi.

The smart phone operates on Verizon Wireless' 3G EV-DO Rev A. network in the U.S., promising lightening quick data rates and Internet surfing.

The device offers a full HTML browser that works in both portrait and landscape orientation. Icons along the bottom of the display enable accessing and switching between "page view" and "column view" as well as the ability to toggle between "pan" mode and "cursor" mode. The Browser 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; playlists can be created directly on the handset and there's an equalizer with 11 preset filters -- including "Lounge," "Jazz" and "Hip Hop" -- for customized audio ranges when using wired headphones or external speakers. The handheld also features a 3.5 mm 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 email and messaging, supporting both personal and corporate email, 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 inches by 2.45 inches by 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.