The Storm phone is an interesting combination of Blackberry functionality with touch screen capability, and a large, clear screen. For those other small business owners without their own dedicated email server, Blackberry runs circles around Windows phones, at least on the Verizon network.
When it comes to technology, I’m not normally an early adopter. Putting up with my Windows-based Treo for the last couple years, coupled with Verizon’s release of the new Blackberry Storm sent me over the edge, running out first thing to find a store with a Storm. I have now had the phone for almost two months.
The good news:
My business and personal email boxes are now separate and I can reply from either. The Treo only allowed one reply email address and combined inboxes. Don’t have a corporate email server? The Storm is syncing my POP-3 email just as quickly and reliably as my email used to sync from a corporate email server. Previous Windows phones on Verizon seemed to sync whenever they got around to it, and often required a reboot to get them syncing again. Undoubtedly a function of the Blackberry service, when I delete an email off my Storm, it does not end up in my inbox. On my Treo, I had to delete it from the phone and my inbox.
Have you given up on using your phone for web searches phone because you couldn’t read the screen? I love the Storm’s high resolution screen, and the ability to zoom. It’s easy to read and web searches are fast. I also like how it switches between landscape and portrait modes quickly (at least most of the time). The portrait mode does not have a full QWERTY keyboard, but the prediction software works quite well. When I hit the right keys, it has done a great job. The web page displays on the entire screen – almost the size of the phone – and makes web searching much more reasonable.
You can tell this is early release software on this phone. A recent software release from Blackberry corrected a re-boot issue and a freezing problem.
From a user interface standpoint, having to press down on the screen feels unusual and has been a bit hard to get used to. I find I hit the right keys if I am watching which key is highlighted before pressing it. Oddly, when my right hand tries to cross over and hit a “t” or “g”, I get it wrong every time. Apparently, my typing got sloppy on my Treo keyboard. It’s fair to say I miss a standard keyboard.
The worst issue is that when I wish to correct an earlier error in my email, positioning the cursor on a specific spot is just not simple. I typically get close and then have to erase back to where I want to be and re-type. I so wish there were arrow keys that are used solely for cursor positioning.
The bottom line:
If you are looking for a user-friendly phone with email and web capability, The Storm does a nice job. It is a big step up from Windows-based smartphones, and it’s great to have the functionality of a Blackberry while still having touch screen capability.
I look forward to new software upgrades fixing some of the existing user-friendliness issues. My 2009 cell phone wish is for simple cursor positioning.
In case you were wondering, I’m keeping the phone. My Treo is now in the closet.
About The Guest Author: Laura Pettit Rusick helps small and mid-sized businesses enable growth, reduce costs and improve efficiency by optimizing business processes and technology. Her web site is www.optsolutionsinc.com.