Some people make telephone calls. I send email, and that latter habit plus its close synchronization with Microsoft Office has meant that I have been a Blackberry addict for quite some time. The Storm, which I began using in January, is my third or fourth generation device, and the experience has been so idiosyncratic that I thought it worth a post.
I call the Storm idiosyncratic because its capabilities are both much better and much worse than the Blackberrys that preceded it, and whether it works for the user is likely to be up to his usage patterns. I am satisfied with the device now, but I came very close to demanding an exchange for a model with a keyboard.
That is because the uneven experience begins with the touch screen keyboard, It is very nice as these things go, and I like it better than the version on Apple's iPhone, but I find it too difficult to type anything longer than a few words. Where I could type fast enough on the physical keyboards to use previous Blackberrys for interview note-taking, that is out of the question on the Storm. Note-taking is a pen and paper experience once again.
On the other hand, email reading is significantly improved over previous Blackberrys. The Storm will play back my voicemail for me, and it has a much better ability to display document attachments, whether pdfs, photos or spreadsheets.
The unevenness carries over to the Storm's other features as well. I can make calls and receive email in most arts of the world with the Storm, sparing me the device juggling I was forced into when I travelled in the past. But web access is very slow, and many web pages, such as my Google login, have buttons that simply cannot be depressed using the touch screen.
The Storm has a nice alarm clock that wakes me reliably without involving a hotel operator. But the 8gb SIM that I bought so I could use the camera doesn't seat reliably and the camera software won't load. I could go on, as this improve one thing and take away another affects every part of life with the Storm.
Physically, unlike its predecessor the Storm fits reasonably well in a side jacket pocket with minimal sagging. Battery life is acceptable for my use, and desktop computer synchronization continues to be one of the Storm's strong suits.
As I wrote at the beginning of the post, I nearly demanded a refund a week into my Storm experience. But over time I have grown accustomed to its compromises and 'two steps forward one step back' style of progress.