RIM edges toward the dark side

The BlackBerry Storm, Research In Motion’s new challenge to the iPhone, could give government users a lot to like

Can we have our BlackBerrys and have some fun, too?

The BlackBerry Storm is Research in Motion’s challenge to Apple’s iPhone. It is RIM’s first touch-screen model, and although it doesn’t quite match the finger-flicking cool of the iPhone, government users will find a lot to like.

First, the Storm benefits from the same enterprise management tools and full-device encryption that other Black- Berrys have.

Second, although many veteran BlackBerry users won’t want to give up their physical keyboards in favor of the Storm’s touch screen, the latter is decidedly easier to use than the touch screen on the iPhone. The Storm’s screen is unique in that it moves perceptibly when you push on it, giving you tactile feedback as you use it.

In giving up the physical keyboard, Storm users gain a lot more room for viewing Web pages and reading e-mail messages. Along with being able to open Word and Excel attachments, you can also install DataViz software that allows you to edit those files. Of course, no one is going to want to do extensive editing on a cell phone, but the capability to make limited changes is welcome.

Wannabe Storm users will still have to deal with agency policies that prohibit the use of cell phones that have cameras or Global Positioning System receivers. However, it might be worth arguing that systems administrators can switch off those features.

About the Author

Patrick Marshall is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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