Kevin Michaluk over at our sister site CrackBerry.com is lusting over the new BlackBerry Storm. Back in May, CrackBerry.com was the first to tell us that RIM's first touchscreen phone would be called the Storm. They were also the first to let us know that the Storm's keyboard would be awesome to type on. Plus, CrackBerry.com was the first to bring us LIVE pics. LOL, that first pic sure brought up a bit of lively discussion. I have to say that I got a kick out of reading through those posts.
Kevin doesn't have a Storm in his hands yet, but I bet it won't be long until he does because the man says that he'd KILL for one. What he does have though is lots of BlackBerry Storm news coverage. He said that three hands-on reviews went up today as soon as RIM's official press release crossed the wire at 12:01am. LOL, I can just see Kevin reading those hands-on reviews and drooling all the while. ;-) I'll see if I can ship one of my drool buckets up to Canada for ya Kevin!
The three hands-on reviews that Kevin mentioned are from Engadget, Gizmodo and Phonescoop. Kevin says that Laptopmag.com and PCMag also have good hands-on reviews.
Kevin notes that the overall hands-on impressions of the BlackBerry Stormhave been extremely positive and in alignment with most of the predictions and discussions that CrackBerry.com have had about the Storm to date. Head over and listen to the past few CrackBerry Podcasts to hear it all.
Kevin talks a little about the Storm's touchscreen:
The "ClickThrough" touchscreen takes a divergent approach from other touchscreens on the market, but works well (though it's the kind of thing you're likely either going to love or hate), and especially makes typing on the keyboard an enjoyable experience. At its core the Storm is still very much a BlackBerry especially with the "navigate and click" approach RIM has taken that closely mimics the existing BlackBerry trackball experience. The form factor sounds comfortable, "pocketable" and all toll should still be a device you can use one-handed (HUGE!). And just like the BlackBerry Bold, the display on the Storm is top notch...but of course much bigger!
I hadn't read much about the Storm yet so reading Kevin's overall impressions and those in the hands-on reviews today was very interesting.
Here's some of what Sascha Segan over at PC Magazine had to say in his hands-on review regarding the touchscreen:
The touch screen feels surreal; it's like nothing I've ever tried before. Many other touch-screen handsets vibrate slightly when you touch a virtual button. But when you press a button on the Storm, it feels as if you're actually pressing on that specific spot. That's because you are: the Storm's touch screen floats along three axes in a magnesium frame, so it provides specific tactile feedback. The screen's virtual keys are as durable as those found on any previous BlackBerry keyboard, RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis told us in a meeting.
Segan also says that RIM redesigned the whole BlackBerry UI around the touch screen. Because of this, there are bigger icons and a trio of virtual keyboards (QWERTY, SureType, and phone keypad) to replace the beloved physical BlackBerry keyboard.
Engadget had some sweet pics of the BlacKBerry Storm in their hands-on review. I gotta tell ya, the Storm had me drooling when I saw the pic below. That keyboard looks sooooo good! I'm a sucker for glowing blue lights on any gadget.
Anyway, back to Engadget's hands-on review, here's some of what they had to say about the Storm's keyboard:
...But the true test of any touch-based phone is typing, and we won't hold any punches here: we're in love. In fact, we like it enough to pit it against regular button-based keyboards, since it easily leaves traditional touchscreen typing (even that hokey haptics stuff, Nokia, LG) in the dust. In landscape mode, the QWERTY keyboard is simply gargantuan, which means the keys are hard to miss. Tap a key and it glows, letting you know you're on the right one, click the "key" (the entire screen, really, but it feels like you're just clicking that one key) and you type the letter. We're guessing we could type out a few words without looking in a pinch, and for people just starting out on a mini-QWERTY keyboard, they're going to have a much easier time finding the letters than on those relatively teensy QWERTY keyboards on existing HTC, Palm and RIM phones. We're even bigger fans of typing in SureType mode (two letters per virtual key), with the phone in portrait. The buttons are the largest of any SureType keyboard out there, you can type with one hand, and the touchability of the screen means it's easy to select the right word when there are multiple options. Both options blow away the touchscreen alternatives thanks to the screen click, though SureType is an acquired taste.
I know, I know, that's a lot of keyboard impressions quotes, but the Storm is the first touchscreen phone from RIM, and BlackBerrys are known for their email strength. And what are people going to use to type out their emails? Why, the touchscreen keyboard of course.
Be sure to go and read Kevin's full article. He has lots of BlackBerry Storm pics too. Below is one of the pics that came from Engadget showing how the Storm makes an awesome Alarm clock with the included docking station. Neat!
CrackBerry.com has posted another Storm article that has a crap load of BlackBerry Storm news links. If you want to read up on the Storm, CrackBerry.com has plenty of reading material.