BlackBerry Storms the iPhone's Gates

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What's the difference between the original launch of Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone and Research In Motion's (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) new BlackBerry Storm? Cops.

CrackBerry addicts made a scene outside a midtown Manhattan store when the Storm sold out one hour after going on sale, Reuters reports. Verizon (NYSE: VZ  ) sells the handset for RIM at its stores. Best Buy (NYSE: BBY  ) and soon-to-be-bankrupt Circuit City also carry the handset. But that doesn't mean you'll get one.

"I had two pre-orders at Best Buy and Circuit City. Now I'm here and I'm hearing it's sold out," one New York-area shopper told Reuters. "I guess 8 a.m. in the morning is too late." Talk about iPhone-esque.

Beat that, Apple
RIM has been brewing the Storm for a while. Kudos to company executives for creating a "must-have" product in a market where most tech is being labeled are-you-freaking-kidding-me? Seriously. Ask Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO  ) , or Intel (Nasdaq: INTC  ) , or Akamai (Nasdaq: AKAM  ) what they think. Exactly none of them is getting the respect they deserve.

To be fair, I haven't been giving Research In Motion all the respect it deserves, either. Blame the numbers. The BlackBerry's third-quarter market share gains were impressive, but not nearly as impressive as what the iPhone achieved.

That could change come Q4. I say "could" because most reviews I've read aren't saying that the Storm is better than the iPhone. The closest comes from the bloggers at Engadget. Reviewer Joshua Topolsky begins by writing that "the Storm is an almost deafening blast to the competition at first glance," only to end with a modest pat on the back. Quoting:

Going into this review, we really wanted to love this phone. On paper it sounds like the perfect antidote to our gripes about the iPhone, and in some ways it lives up to those promises -- but more often than not while using the Storm, we felt let down or frustrated. Ultimately, this could be a great platform with a little more time in the oven, but right now, it feels undercooked -- and that's not enough for us.

So be it. But no gloating allowed, Apple; you're not safe. If anything, it's time to get worried that so many want a viable iPhone alternative.

Brrrrrring! It's related Foolishness calling:

Intel and Best Buy are Inside Value recommendations. Akamai Technologies is a Rule Breakers selection. Best Buy and Apple are Stock Advisor recommendations. The Fool owns shares of Best Buy and Intel. The Fool also owns covered calls in Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Apple and a stock position in Akamai at the time of publication. The Fool's disclosure policy isn't here right now. Please leave a message after the tone ... Beeeeeeeeeep.

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On November 25, 2008, at 4:53 PM, monoclast wrote:

    I purchased an iPhone a few weeks ago and can say with certainty the iPhone is superior in design - especially when it comes to touch typing.

    The iPhone OS knows the layout of the keys, and uses that to correctly guess what you *mean* to type. After a while, you learn to just kind of "point and shoot" with your finger as you type without slowing down to ensure you pressed the exact right key. Because you aren't going through the mental process of trying to be sure you actually hit what you aimed for, typing becomes an intuitive process over time. You just start jamming out letters while watching the screen rather than the keyboard. That is, rather than focussing on the actual letters you type, you start focussing on the words you've already typed on-screen, and the little pop-up tool tip that correctly guesses what you meant to type. To accept the suggested replacement, you just hit Space (which is intuitive in itself, and doesn't slow you down at all since you were going to hit space after the word anyway). Over time, the iPhone learns more and more about your typing style, to the point where it almost always guesses correctly. And, in turn, you type faster and faster because you rely more and more on the phone's proven ability to know what you mean to type. It makes typing *extremely* efficient on the iPhone. Typing on the iPhone is unlike typing on any other device I've ever used. This is something Apple got so right - I have a hard time imagining that other devices will recognize this for what it is - much less ever catch up to it.

    Not only are Blackberry users unaware of the iPhone's superior design - they actually think what they have (with the Storm) is better! But I've been closely following the reviews, and it's very obvious to anyone who looks that RIM did the bare minimum to implement touch functionality on their Storm device. They bolted it on as an afterthought. In comparison, Apple designed the entire iPhone operating system around touch! A physical click button on the Storm may *sound* like it might be a good idea at first; but actual usage is what matters. Quotes like this say it all:

    "Even then, text entry is far less capable than on the iPhone. Sure, on the iPhone I occasionally hit the wrong key. But on the Storm, it was almost a constant. Having to click down on the button to make it read, while seemingly a good idea to RIM's engineers, made it more difficult to enter text. It did not provide the same "feel" as having actual keys to press. Instead, it just made it more difficult.

    Accuracy was also an issue. Perhaps with more practice I will be able to strike the correct keys more frequently. But until then, it's a chore and a seemingly steep learning curve not present when I first started using the iPhone. On the iPhone, I was able to start entering text quite quickly after only a few minutes and have steadily increased my speed and accuracy while using the device on a daily basis for several months."

    Reviews like that are plenty. It's crystal clear to me the folks that are praising the Storm's touch typing functionality have never used an iPhone for any length of time. Because if they had, they'd laugh at the Storm.

    I doubt Apple is worried.

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