Ohh, the boys at Gizmodo also got a hands on with the BlackBerry Storm. Hey wait a minute, the pictures seem to have been taken at the same place as the Engadget hands on, which makes me think they were corralled into a van (blindfolded), taken to a secret hideout, and given 20 minutes with the device before it self-destructed. What I want to know is: where was BlackBerry Cool’s invite? I would have loved being thrown into a van blindfolded to see the Storm. Caught in a spam filter, I hope. Sigh.
Anyways, you can check out the highlights from Gizmodo’s hands on with the device after the jump.
Say hello to ClickThrough:
Let’s talk more about ClickThrough, since using the Storm means using it. RIM co-CEO Mike Lazaridis, who notoriously said he can’t type on a piece of glass, told me that it was in development for years as they looked to evolve past the trackball while accomplishing something no touchscreen has before: Separating navigation from confirmation. So you have to push the touchscreen like a button every time you do something. Typing with it takes some getting used to, even if you can fly on an iPhone or other touchscreen device, because you have to retrain yourself to actually lift your thumb back off of the screen to let it pop back up between every single letter. Since you can’t “flow” continuously in a stream but are pounding out a series of clicks, it’s hard to tell in the limited time I had with it how fast you would be able to go once you’re completely re-trained. It’s a unique and finely tuned sensation, and I liked it, but I could definitely see people loathing it.
More on navigation. One annoyance when typing is that it highlights letters in blue rather than doing a magnified pop-up like the iPhone or LG Vu, so letters will probably be obscured if you have fat fingers. One of the weird inconsistencies (there are a few) with needing to clickthrough for an action actually occurs with copy and paste, which took a few seconds to get down since it involved a long hold and drag when it was demoed for me—they oddly didn’t show me the multitouch method shown in the leaked user guide, though RIM later confirmed it would be there. Also worth noting is that it has an accelerometer (which seemed to be a hair more sensitive than the iPhone’s), so it detects whether it’s in landscape or portrait orientation, using the QWERTY keyboard for text entry in the former and SureType for the latter.
The new BlackBerry Browser:
The browser improves upon the one in the Bold and is even more competent at rendering HTML. You have a couple different ways to navigate around a page, though the most unique makes use of the whole screen as a trackpad, so that once you have the cursor pop up, you can put your finger anywhere on the screen to move it around, just like on a notebook. It’s context sensitive, so it’ll do what it’s supposed to when you hit a link or whatnot. It had some trouble with a text entry field in the browser, and had some other jitters but then it obviously wasn’t a final version. RIM’s concern with the user experience is very apparent, so I expect it to be cleaned up when the final version ships, presumably in November for a still undetermined price (crossing fingers for $199).