BlackBerry Storm VS iPhone 3G: Will RIM’s First Touch Screen BlackBerry be an iPhone Killer?

Recently I had published a side-by-side comparison of the iPhone 3G and T-Mobile G1 which evoked an interesting debate.

Here comes another side-by-side comparison of Apple’s iPhone 3G with RIM’s BlackBerry Storm, which is considered as another iPhone Killer.

BlackBerry Storm is expected to be released some time in November exclusively by Verizon in the US and Vodafone in UK.

Hardware Spec

  • Dimension:
    • Storm = 4.4  x 2.4 x 0.6 inches
    • iPhone 3G = 5.5 x 2.4 x 0.48 inches
  • Weight:
    • Storm = 155g
    • iPhone = 133g
  • Screen Size:
    • Storm = 3.2 inches
    • iPhone = 3.5 inches
  • Camera:
    • Storm = 3.2M pixel
    • iPhone = 2M pixel
  • Memory:
    • Storm = 1GB on board + 16GB expandable with MicroSD
    • iPhone = 8GB / 16GB (No expansion)
  • Battery:
    • Storm = 5.5hrs talk time / 360 hrs standby
    • iPhone = 5hrs talk time / 300 hrs standby

Unlike T-Mobile G1 that we have reviewed earlier, BlackBerry Storm "steals" the design and looks much like the iPhone 3G. However, it does not look as sleek as iPhone 3G. It’s a little bit thicker (0.14inches more) and heavier (22g more) than iPhone 3G. And, surprisingly, BlackBerry Storm does not come with Wi-Fi support or they probably consider Verizon’s 3G network is good enough.

BlackBerry Storm’s screen is also a little bit smaller (3.2 inch) as compared to iPhone 3G (3.5 inch), however it sports a slightly higher resolution (460×360 pixels) than iPhone 3G (460×360 pixels).

Winner: iPhone 3G

Input Method

With the success of iPhone’s multi-touch interface, touch is now the standard for any new smartphone. Like iPhone, Storm does not have physical slide-out keyboard and uses the screen as input, in fact its RIM’s first smartphone to feature a touch screen. However, RIM highlights that the touch technology developed on Storm is somewhat different to other touch screen smartphone available. RIM refers its touch technology as "Clickable Screen". That means, when users press key on screen, they can actually feel the key pressed and release, just like you press the mouse button. They call it a game changing touch technology that makes on-screen keyboard more appealing.

Also, like T-Mobile G1, it will have built-in cut and paste capability across applications a feature missing from iPhone 3G.

Winner:Its difficult to call a winner on this one, until we get feedback from users on RIM’s touch technology. We love iPhone 3G’s revolutionary multi-touch interface.


Multimedia support is not the strong area of RIM smartphones, as they predominantly targets business users. Storm is developed with multiple support in mind to lure more casual users. Standard feature like music and video playback is included. A wide range of audio format (including MP3, AAC, WMA, etc) and video format (including MPEG4, WMV, etc). Storm also allows you to sync iTunes music files via BlackBerry Media Sync and has its own media software to manage your music.

iPhone 3G is the best iPod Apple has ever created. The music and video playback experience is awesome. And, Apple continues to update features like Genius Playlist into iPhone makes iPhone’s multimedia support nearly unbeatable. With its seamless integration with iTunes Store, you can download songs wirelessly or sync it between desktop using iTunes. iPhone 3G also supports a wide range of music formats but only plays Quick Time video.

Winner: iPhone 3G

Camera & Video Recording

Apple did not upgrade the camera in iPhone 3G, its still a basic 2 megapixel camera while Storm comes with 3.2 megapixel camera and includes video recording capability. Storm also includes a flash and auto focus for its camera.

Winner: BlackBerry Storm

Modem Capability

iPhone 3G does not support tethering and Apple tends to ban any applications in App Store that adds this capability. The only option you have is to jailbreak the iPhone and use jailbreak apps such as PDANet, iPhoneModem etc. BlackBerry Storm, on the other hands, comes with tethering built-in.

Winner: BlackBerry Storm

Enterprise Feature

Apple has made quite a few strides to take market share from RIM in the enterprise area. iPhone 3G, with built-in support for Microsoft’s ActiveSync protocol, lets enterprise users to access Microsoft Exchange’s services.  Also, it takes a great step forwards to support Cisco IPsec VPN, which is a standard in enterprise wireless security. Further, it incorporates a feature to let administrator to wipe data remotely, in case the iPhone is lost or stolen.

RIM is always the leader in enterprise wireless devices. Storm, by no means, continues to lead in this area. The enterprise support is outstanding that different security policies can be defined, such that administrator may enable or shutdown specific bluetooth profiles; and even, to disable its digital camera access.

Winner: BlackBerry Storm

To sum up, BlackBerry strikes a balance between business and causal use. It’s, by far, the sleekest BlackBerry; which should help RIM lure causal customers.

Is it another iPhone killer? Its difficult to conclude. iPhone 3G and BlackBerry both come with some unique features that neither have and they are positioned differently in the market.

However, I still fail to understand the omission of Wi-Fi in BlackBerry Storm, its true that BlackBerry is targeted at the business users who use it primarily for email, but still it seems like a major disadvantage over iPhone 3G.

As a consumer device, iPhone will definitely win thanks to the iPod application, its Safari browser which is easily the most advanced web browser on a portable device which makes browsing the internet on the iPhone a treat and overall for its cool factor. But if you turn to some business-savvy users and enterprise, BlackBerry is still the de-facto choice.

RIM has also not disclosed the pricing or the official shipping date.

You can checkout the demo video of BlackBerry Storm to get an overview:

BlackBerry Storm, T-Mobile G1 and soon to be released Nokia’s XpressMusic phone (Nokia’s first touch screen phone) might or might not end up being iPhone killers but they are healthy competition to Apple’s iPhone 3G that will ensure that Apple constantly innovates which in the end is beneficial for consumers like us.

Let us know which one is a winner from your point of view and why?

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