BlackBerry with clickable touchscreen ready to take on iPhone

November 5, 2008

The new touchscreen BlackBerry has an “intuitive touchscreen” that can be pressed down like buttons on a keyboard, joining a crowded market for new smartphones
Murad Ahmed, Technology Reporter.
A new touchscreen BlackBerry phone is launched today, ready to battle with the likes of Apple’s iPhone and the new “Google phone” in the run up to Christmas.
The BlackBerry Storm aims to blow away its rivals with an “intuitive touchscreen” which can be pressed down like buttons on a keyboard, unlike other touchscreen mobiles where users tap the unresponsive glass.
The Times was granted a brief look at the new phone yesterday. With its neat metallic edges and rubber sides, the Storm looks sleek and stylish, but is also easy to hold and use. However, at first glace it is thicker and heavier than rival devices.
The new BlackBerry joins a crowded market for touchscreen phones, which is dominated by Apple’s iPhone. Nokia and Google have released new smartphones in recent weeks, but industry experts consider the iPhone to be the “sexiest” touchscreen and has set the bar high for similar devices.
BlackBerry phones have long been seen as an unglamorous device, the reliable companion of office workers and travelling salesman who mainly use it check and reply to e-mails on the go.
Now, in an effort to take on the likes of the iPhone, the sleek new BlackBerry Storm has the ability to download music and movies, which can be played on the device.
Just like other touchscreen devices, the Storm takes high-quality digital photographs, has a built-in GPS system and gives users fast internet access to websites such as YouTube and Facebook.
The phone is available exclusively with Vodafone in Britain and will be free to customers who must sign up to a 18-month contract that costs £35 a month.
There has already been a lot of interest in BlackBerry’s latest offering, with Vodafone saying that they are already receiving a thousand pre-orders for the new phone a day since the manufacturers announced it was releasing a new phone last month.
Speaking to The Times, Mike Lazaridis, Chief Executive of RIM, the makers of BlackBerry phones, said that the big advantage of the new device was its intuitive touchscreen which can be pressed down, allowing fast typing as on a keyboard.
“Here, you have a touchscreen that people don’t have to learn how to use, because its very natural,” he said.
“When you’re using the phone itself, you’re actually pushing buttons. [Unlike other touchscreens] you don’t have to learn how to do that.”
“When you’re using the phone itself, you’re actually pushing buttons. [Unlike other touchscreens] you don’t have to learn how to do that.”
It is unclear whether the new BlackBerry is advanced enough to take on the might of the hugely successful iPhone, which dominates the market. Last month, internet’s giant Google also entered the fray with the T-Mobile G1, which uses Google’s Android software and has one-click access to Google search and e-mail.
Nokia launched the Tube, which has an “all you can eat” music bundle allowing users to download an unlimited amount of music. To less fanfare, the likes of LG and Samsung have also launched touchscreen smartphones which will be available in time for Christmas.
“There’s going to be lots of opportunity and the consumer wins,” said Mr Lazaridis. “Like car market and jewellery market, there is no one winner.”
An added bonus for the Storm is its ability to cut-and-paste text, which has been a key reason why e-mail junkies have preferred the BlackBerry brand over less corporate phones. Other mobiles, especially the iPhone, have been heavily criticised by users for not allowing such a simple function on its phones.
Battle of the Touchscreens
iPhone 3G
Pros – Links to your iTunes music player, can download thousands of applications, and gives super-fast access to the internet. It remains the best and most beautiful of all the touchscreens.
Cons – Remains expensive and costs up to £399. Has suffered some glitches with phone and internet connection in the past, though Apple are fixing these problems fast.
T-Mobile G1
Pros – Runs on Android, Google’s operating system for mobiles, which promises to give access to thousands of applications that have not been censored in advance (unlike the iPhone). Has a slide-out qwerty keyboard, which is better for typing than a touchscreen.
Cons – Looks and feels plastic and chunky. Android remains an untested format and it may be better bet to wait for other phone-makers to build better phones for the new software.
Nokia 5800 XpressMusic or “Tube”
Pros: Its unlimited music service gives access to millions of tracks, so may be the best rival to the iPhone for music lovers. It supports handwriting, allowing you can to use a pen stylus to write on the touchscreen.
Cons: Reasonably expensive at around £220. Only 8GB of memory, so even if you downloaded thousands of tracks, you would not be able to play them all on the device.
Blackberry Storm
Pros: New touchscreen which can be pressed down like a keyboard, solving the problem of typing fast on a screen without making constant errors.
Cons: Thick and reasonably heavy. It might be even more ideal for the office worker, but doesn’t seem to offer anything other slicker-looking touchscreen phones don’t already do.

Courtesy: TimesOnline

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