Late yesterday, Verizon Wireless made a teaser page available on its Web site. Until then, the network operator had not officially acknowledged the touch screen device’s existence. Now, it is providing a picture of the Storm, and a place to sign up for e-mail updates.
The site went live yesterday, was then pulled for most of the last 20-ish hours, and is now live again. The site doesn’t say much, but it doesn’t have to. It confirms that the touch screen Storm is real, and that it is coming soon.
The handset, previously rumored to be called ‘Thunder’, will apparently be exclusive to Verizon in the USA and features a touch screen with haptic feedback and an interface offering easy access to a more consumer-focused array of applications.
The picture is somewhat interesting. It’s fatter-looking than I expected it to be. It has just four buttons along the bottom. Unfortunately we can’t see if there are any buttons along the side of the device. I would not be surprised to see the return of the trackwheel, which appeared on the side of all BlackBerries before the Pearl introduced the trackball.
The teaser page reads, in part: “Enter your email address for the latest information on the new BlackBerry Storm 9530 Smartphone with global capabilities. You’ll be the first to know when it’s available for purchase, so you can be the first to get your hands on it.”
The site also poses the loaded question, What does it feel like?
The Storm is said to have haptics feedback, meaning the device will vibrate or buzz when you touch it. Since BlackBerry is known for its QWERTY-equipped devices, the mere idea of a touch screen device seems a major departure. Early videos seen of the device showed a creaky user experience. Haptics would be a key ingredient in making sure that the Storm “feels” good.
Either way, the BlackBerry Storm looks entertaining as a handset and should enable RIM to claim it’s making a credible reply to Apple’s iPhone.