Why Even the BlackBerry Storm STILL Doesn't Compare to the iPhone 3G
We've covered why the BlackBerry can't compare the iPhone, why the BlackBerry compares worse than ever to the iPhone 3G, and even what the iPhone could learn from the Blackberry.
So, okay, fair enough. We've beaten the BlackBerry horse so far past death even it's ghost shows bruises. But here's the thing -- the second biggest story of the week (after iPhone OS 2.2, naturally) is the release of the Blackberry Storm, a direct response to Apple's revolutionary iPhone and its unprecedented sales, business, and reliability success.
How could we ignore that, and how could we ignore iPhone owners who are daring to think different(ly) about jumping to the Storm, or have stuck with Verizon this long hoping the Storm would give them reason not to switch to the iPhone AT&T.
The answer is, we can't, and we won't. So after the break, our Top 5 reasons why the BlackBerry Storm STILL doesn't compare to the iPhone!
Flattery Will Get RIM Nowhere
We've joked about iClones before, about RIM's choice of stylings for the Bold, and their note-by-note replication of Apple's iPhone SDK Event, but the Storm is perhaps the ultimate iClone, and for would-be-Storm users, that's a problem.
Just look at the review. Pretty much every reviewer puts the Storm head-to-head against the iPhone, and many of the comparisons don't end up in the Storm's favor. Heck, even CrackBerry.com is getting an incredibly wide range of feedback on the device.
Why? Because in trying to be what a BlackBerry isn't, in trying to stem the bleeding in people (especially business people) leaving the BlackBerry for the iPhone and leaving Verizon for AT&T just to get an iPhone, RIM has created something that compromises the traditional BlackBerry's killer productivity while failing to match the iPhone's unparalleled usability.
In making the whole touch-screen a giant wrist-wrecking button, RIM has create something that's less than the sum of its parts.
BlackBerry OS By Any Other Input Method...
Dieter said it best in his recent BlackBerry Bold review. RIM has reached the point Palm did when they released the 650. While this is true of the Bold, it matters even more to Storm users.
Apple leveraged a modern, advanced desktop class OS to create the iPhone, but also meticulously crafted a whole new -- and unique -- UI paradigm.
RIM reworked a slight variation of their aging embedded micro-Java platform and tacked some touch (and a very few multi-touch) on top of it.
While the situations are admittedly different for a variety of reasons, it's the BlackBerry equivalent of Touch Flo 3D.
Following the OS train of that, even if RIM has a few more tricks up their sleeves -- hey, maybe even a whole new, next generation OS sitting deep in the bunkers below Waterloo? -- right now they face iPhone OS 2.x leading mobile computing world, and Google's Android all but ready to challenge for that title.
Heck, unlike Palm Nova and Windows Mobile 7, far off vaporware though they may be, RIM hasn't even shed any light whatsoever on their next generation plans, if any.
Apple, for its part, has shown they not only can, but will push out software updates at a near break-neck pace. While even iPhone 2G owners can update to iPhone OS 2.x, giving their last gen hardware some next gen software, BlackBerry certainly hasn't provided as frequent, functional, or simple upgrade paths in the past.
Unfortunately, Storm owners can't enjoy that kind of faith in the future.
Form Factor Fracture
We mentioned earlier that RIM recently iClone'd Apple's iPhone SDK Event, complete with the promise of VC funding, push notification services, an App Store (2 of them, actually), and renewed power for developers.
Then they went ahead and launched the Storm.
So, unlike the iPhone SDK, where developers can pretty much count on similar hardware across 2 platforms (iPhone and iPod Touch) and 2 generations (2007 and 2008 models), RIM developers now can't count on any given handset having touch or multi-touch screen input, having a trackball, or having a hard keyboard.
In order to enjoy the richest experience, would-be Storm users will have to bet on special developed Storm apps, and given the entrenched base of non-Storm BlackBerry's, those aren't great odds.
With it's gorgeous full screen, the BlackBerry Storm is clearly aimed at the iPhone's heart and soul. No, not internet communication. iPhone still wins web and BlackBerry is still untouchable at messaging. We're talking media. The high density -- though not Bold-style drool inducing -- should make almost everyone enjoy their movies and TV on it...
If they could get their movies and TV on it.
By going for iTunes sync, RIM has pretty much given up on handling their own media and just gone with iTunes sync (and, hey, wouldn't it be fair to give iPhone users some BlackBerry Connect love in exchange? Huh?) But just connection to iTunes to drag over some MP3 files pales in comparison to Apple's complete ecosystem.
Rent or buy movies, get season passes to TV shows, move them to or from your iPhone, PC/Mac, or AppleTV, enjoy the full catalog of the #1 music retailer... And did we mention in iPhone OS 2.2 you can download not only music, but audio and video podcasts directly to your iPhone?
So not only does "clicking through" the "whole screen button" tire you out and slow you down, you can't even enjoy the same breadth of entertainment while you're resting up.
While RIM deserves some credit for stepping beyond their front-facing keyboard comfort zone with the BlackBerry Storm, they're still playing "catch up" and "me to" with the iPhone. They're still following, not leading.
That's why these five reasons, among others, make us confident the BlackBerry Storm STILL Doesn't compare to the iPhone.
What are your reasons? Or, if you disagree, what are your top 5 retorts?