Verizon Puts BlackBerry Storm 2 on Sale

On Wednesday Verizon Wireless made the long-awaited BlackBerry Storm 2 available online, and retail stores will have availability as the day goes on.

The update to Research in Motion Ltd.‘s first touchscreen BlackBerry will cost $180 after an online discount or $100 mail-in rebate. It’s also available as part of a two-for-one program for family accounts.

The original Storm launched with much fanfare but failed to meet expectations, with users complaining of bugginess and general user interface problems, particularly when it came to on-screen typing. RIM aimed to fix those issues with the second Storm, and so far reviews have been mixed, with some complaining that the touchscreen experience is still lacking. Still others say the latest model will be a good competitor in the field. But the real test will come when the device is actually in the hands of consumers.

The new Storm features the SurePress display, which offers multitouch and uses 4 sensors instead of the original’s one, to be more sensitive.

It also adds Wi-Fi, a SIM card for overseas roaming, boosted memory and the new BlackBerry OS 5.0. As for other features, there’s a removable battery, a 3.2-megapixel camera and video recording.

In terms of apps, the phone uses the Bing search engine from Microsoft Corp. and embeds BlackBerry Maps. Verizon’s VZ Navigator service for voice-guided directions is native too, but users must pay $9.99 per month to activate it.

The Storm 2 offers access to the BlackBerry App World for additional apps.

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