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BlackBerry Storm 2 In Action, SurePress Click Screen and All

It's pretty early hardware and earlier software, but the guys at CrackBerry somehow got themselves a Storm 2 to play with. First question: Yes, it still has a clickable screen, but it's allegedly much better than its predecessor.

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There aren't any big changes on the software side (it's still running BlackBerry OS 5.1), although remember, this is a very early pre-release model. The OS looks pretty much exactly the same as the original Storm, at least at this point. That means it's still laggy (especially the accelerometer), a dealbreaker of a problem on the first Storm that hopefully will get ironed out before the Storm 2's release. Verizon has promised WiFi in its future smartphones, so with any luck that'll include the Storm 2.

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In terms of hardware, the four classic BlackBerry buttons (call, end, back, and menu) are no longer separate buttons but part of the clickable screen's display. The screen itself has a lot less give to it than the original Storm, which the guy demonstrating it seems to appreciate, saying it's a much better typing experience (though probably not as good as a physical keyboard). The handset is slightly thinner and features darker metal, seeming classier overall.

What are we really hoping for in the new Storm? No more lagginess, a real browser based on WebKit, and a better app store would be a huge help in making the Storm 2 a step up. That stuff is all software stuff, so we'll hold off making any base judgments about the Storm 2 just yet. But we're keeping our fingers crossed that RIM has been listening to its customers. [CrackBerry]

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DISCUSSION

I hope BB does well with this but I'm still skeptical of the click screen, even if they improved it a lot. It seems like the worst of both worlds - you don't have physical keys to easily "find" with your fingers, but you still have to put that slight bit of effort into every tap that eventually tires your finger muscles out. I realize it solves the one gripe I have about the iPhone's touch screen - inadvertent clicks, but seems like the disadvantages outweigh this advantage. And for me I've trained myself to mostly avoid this problem on the iPhone. If I tap something by mistake I can usually catch it before I lift my finger and do a "slide and lift" to basically cancel out the click before it happens. It's just a matter of being slightly more deliberate about your taps, but not as deliberate as you have to be with a click screen.