A week with the BlackBerry Storm: Day 1

by | Dec 15, 2008 | Beta Testing, Fun Stuff

Last week I stopped into my local Verizon Wireless store to purchase a BlackBerry Storm. I’ve been waiting for a “new” phone for a while and it seems that for the last couple of years, AT&T has cornered the market when it came to having the latest and greatest selection of phones (e.g. the iPhone).

I’ve been a Palm Treo user for the last 5 years. First, with the 600, then the 650 (both running the Palm OS). Then purchased a 700w to sync with our Exchange server then upgraded to the 700WX. Using the Windows Mobile OS is a no brainer for anyone with an Exchange Server IMHO – with ActiveSync there is no software to install or buy. Setting up corporate email sync is a breeze with ActiveSync.

So, it is with some bias and trepidation that I force myself to use a Blackberry and see what comes of it.

Of Note: I am going to start with using the BlackBerry Desktop Redirector, but if I like the phone after a week and choose to keep it – I will install the BES (Blackberry Enterprise Server).

Day 1:

It arrives! On time I might add. When I purchased the phone on Wednesday, they informed me that it would be shipped and I would receive it by Monday the 15th. +1 for Verizon Customer Service.

This device is slick – I like the profile – it fits nicely in my hand and is much thinner than my Treo 700WX. Activation didn’t go through the first time so I had to call Verizon and speak with a CSR which was painless. I tapped out a quick text message to my wife (I Love you) and I was off to install the desktop software.

I don’t care much for frills… The CD that is packaged with the phone prompts you to install V CAST Music with Rhapsody which I don’t want to do. I have an iPod that I use for music and don’t care to use my phone as a media player. So I decided to download just the desktop software from BlackBerry.com. The install went normally.

I can tell right from the start that I am going to have some challenges with the device until I get the BES installed. My contacts and calendar wont sync wirelessly and that is a feature I use quite a bit. I am not going to like it that I have to plug in my phone to sync those items but I’ll get by.

I sent my first email! The screen on the storm is MUCH nicer than the Treo – but technology has advanced quite a bit as well so this is not a big surprise. Also, the screen is much bigger so I can see more information at once – a huge plus.

The touch and click screen is something to get used too. With my Treo, I was able to type pretty well with my thumbs and you could feel the keys under your fingers. With the Storm, typing with my thumbs in landscape mode is a bit difficult as my thumbs cover more than one key at a time and it is difficult to concentrate on my message, where my thumb is, what key I am pressing, and making sure that I don’t misspell any words. It is a bit easier in portrait mode as the BlackBerry SureType is surprisingly accurate and the keys are bigger.

Off to the Web… I tested the web browser out by syncing my phone with Facebook. Browsing to the Facebook page and entering my username and password was simple. The screen jumped around a bit as it somehow thought I was trying to zoom in and scroll through the webpage but I managed to get to where I wanted to go. I think that the screen is having a hard time with my fat thumbs as it seems to think I am trying to click and scroll places where I am trying to do neither (I wonder if there is a setting for that). The facebook application downloaded quickly enough (its 407.5KB) and I seem to have a stronger wireless signal on this phone than I did on my Treo.

Back to work for now.