Research in Motion, the company that brought us the BlackBerry, has once again come out with a piece of new technology right in time for the Christmas shopping season. However, many say the latest innovation from R.I.M. is not living up to the company’s standards of state of the art technology that has, in some markets, even outsold the insanely popular Apple iPhone.
In the past several years, BlackBerries have come to be known as a line of good-looking, reliable, and functional business-oriented phones that are able to perform lots of useful functions almost effortlessly. But, with the addition of the BlackBerry Storm, reviewers say company has created a not-so-easy-to-use and impractical addition to their otherwise top-quality line of cell phones.
Past models such as the BlackBerry Pearl, the BlackBerry Flip, and the BlackBerry Bold have all been of the highest standard of technology, relatively easy to use, and pleasing to the eye. But it appears that the new BlackBerry is none of these things all rolled into one package. With a list price of around $200, critics say the latest smart-phone from the BlackBerry line is well below the standard that the company has set with its other products.
You see, the Storm has no keyboard like earlier models. Instead the company has decided to go with a touch-screen concept — with mixed results. Research in Motion has also given us another “special” feature in the Storm: it actually makes a clicking sound when the touch-screen responds. Notice I said “when it responds,” as sometimes you have to press really hard to make the Storm respond to the touch-pad at all.
The concept of the touch-screen itself is not a bad idea, but many users feel they could do without the clicking noise. Another disappointment is that the Storm is simply too much work. It takes longer to send e-mails, and it’s no help whatsoever that the Storm displays two different keyboards. This is achieved by incorporating an iPhone-style tilt sensor that alternates the display between a regular touch-screen keyboard and the “SureType” keys.
When held horizontally, you get a standard QWERTY keyboard layout. But when held upright, you get the less accurate SureType keyboard, where two letters appear on each key. Instead of saving time, this feature can actually make entering a web address or an unusual word or name next to impossible.
Critics also point out that navigational tasks are difficult to perform with the Storm’s cramped menu commands. Even when the user’s finger is placed squarely on a particular key, it’s easy to end up activating a completely different function.
Disappointed Blackberry users claim that the navigation of the new Storm is an exercise in frustration; and a growing number of technology reviewers and critics seem to agree.