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RIM takes another shot at iPhone, touchscreen with Storm2

Research In Motion Thursday officially introduced the BlackBerry Storm2, the company's latest salvo in its fight for smartphone supremacy with Apple's iPhone.

The successor to the original Storm, the company's first foray into the touchscreen market, features several key updates to its predecessor. The official specs highlight the Storm2's new "SurePress" technology, which replaces the mechanical clickscreen of the Storm with an electronic system for tactile feedback. The new technology also allows for easier typing by enabling the user to be pressing two keys at once, which opens up the possibility for multi-key actions such as Shift or Alt - key combinations.

Features according to RIM include:

  • Capacitive touch-screen with integrated functions (Send, End, Menu, Escape) and new SurePress technology that makes clicking the display practically effortless

  • 2 GB of onboard memory storage and a microSD/SDHD memory card slot that supports up to 16 GB cards today and up to 32 GB cards when available

  • Built-in GPS for maps and other location-based applications as well as photo geotagging

  • Removable, rechargeable 1400 mAhr battery that provides approximately 6 hours of talk time on 3G networks and 280 hours of standby time

The Storm2 also now includes Wi-Fi, and displays a full QWERTY keyboard when held in portrait mode, both features that the original Storm lacked. So far, the only announced carrier is Vodaphone, which will sell the Storm2 in time for Christmas in seven European countries, as well as South Africa. Customers in the UK and Ireland will be able to get the Storm2 first through Vodafone, and it will be offered exclusively by Vodafone in Germany, Netherlands, and Spain. It will also be available in France and Italy.

Storm2 Features

It is not known when the phone will be available in the United States.  But Reuters reported that analysts expect Verizon to announce shortly in time for the holiday buying season.

RIM executive Jim Balsillie reportedly said that the Storm 2 will be a crucial factor in keeping and maintaining RIM's growth in the consumer market.

"Obviously, we want to maintain and extend our leadership, there's no question," Balsillie said.