Research In Motion Ltd. is getting ready for its second try at the touch screen device market after unveiling the BlackBerry Storm2, a device which Canadians users could get their hands later this year.
While the original Storm device was heavily criticized in mobile reviews — with many pundits taking issue with the lack of Wi-Fi support and the “clickable” touch screen functionality — the device sold fairly well in North America.
Still, RIM obviously took these critical reviews to heart, attempting to address many of these flaws with the Storm2.
The clickable touch screen interface will make its return to the device, but RIM promises users will find it much easier to type this time around as the screen will stay in place when tapped. The company has also added Wi-Fi connectivity, “multi-touch” capabilities to the screen and improved the battery life.
RIM did not reveal a specific launch date for the device, but the company did announce that European wireless carrier Vodafone Group Plc will be given exclusive rights to launch the device first in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and later in other parts of Europe.
According to a Vodafone release, the device will be available in all of these markets in time for the “busy holiday gift buying period.” Heavy speculation from industry observers suggests that the device could street in the U.K. later this month or early next month.
The original Storm was carried by Telus Corp. and BCE Inc.’s Bell Mobility, however, RIM has not officially announced any Canadian or U.S. carriers as of yet. An announcement for North American carriers is expected soon, with most mobile watchers expecting a November street date.
Ryan Reith, a senior research analyst with IDC Corp.’s mobile phone tracker group who’s gotten his hands on an early device, said that while the Storm2 has a similar look and feel to the original, the changes will be welcomed by hardcore users. He highlighted the Wi-Fi module, increased processor speed, and updated software stack as positives with the new device.