A REVIEW OF SORTS: I ran off to the local Verizon Wireless store in the company of fellow nerds Sunday, eager to get my hands on Blackberry's "Storm" model just released for VZW.
Spare the further weather puns, the Storm seems impressive at first glimpse but fails to completely leave me in awe.
Clearly the big difference compared to RIM's previous VZW models: It lacks a keyboard. Much like the iPhone, the character input is done via touchscreen. A nifty quirk - I say quirk, not feature - of the phone requires you to literally press in the screen to confirm a command or letter. This gives you the feeling that you're clicking a button without ever really doing so. While this sounds useful in practice, friends and I struggled to get past our iPhone training that asks for a simple "tap" of the screen as opposed to physical force. A side effect of this quirk means the entire physical screen subtly shakes when moving the phone rapidly, or if dragging your fingers across it too hard.
The browser is a large improvement, especially compared to the torture of my Windows Mobile-powered Treo 700wx IE browser. It leaves some to be desired, but again: we're spoiled by the iPhone's multi-touch sensory powers.
Overall the phone was noticeably slow in loading applications and switching from landscape to portrait mode. My instincts question too powerful software in underpowered hardware (see: Treo/WM5), but I have hopes this will be fixed come April when my VZW contract is up for renewal.
If I had to get a new phone today on VZW, the Storm would take the first seed. Its novelty is probably the largest asset, and that's bound to wear off in the coming months as more people adopt the handset as their own.
Oh, Android ... Where are you??