Blackberry Storm vs. iPhone: Similar Experience or Disaster?

The reviews bear out what I said in May: Overall user experience, not touchscreen or features make the iPhone a winner vs. Blackberry Storm.

Any suggestion that adding a touchscreen would make Blackberry competitive with iPhone was always silly. Blackberry already creates a great experience for some users. To work equally well for another group of users, RIM needs to do more than add features or change input device.

When word of Blackberry Storm (previously Thunder) leaked in May, I’d hoped RIM would put in the work to make their user experience with a touchscreen as fantastic as their user experience with a thumbwheel.

The Storm goes on sale tomorrow, and today’s reviews are disappointing. Adding features or changing the input hardware by itself doesn’t create a better device. You have to think through the whole experience and designing accordingly.

Looks like the Storm isn’t as good as an iPhone. Or as good as a Blackberry.

Touch isn’t what matters. The Bold (or other non-touch model) is the phone for those who want a Blackberry.

Chicago Tribune:
Navigating the Storm is challenging because BlackBerry software is designed for a trackball or scroll wheel, and RIM barely changed the interface here…. [Keyboard] not as good as the iPhone’s approach or a physical keyboard.

Gizmodo:
Now that we’ve spent some quality, uninterrupted time with the Storm, here’s why we think it falls short of its promise…. I hate to say this, but I kind of came to hate typing on it.

PC World:
Research in Motion’s BlackBerry Storm looks handsome enough, but it will disappoint prospective buyers hoping for a credible touch-based iPhone alternative.

Engadget
The only hitch in this plan is a major one: it’s not as easy, enjoyable, or consistent to use as the iPhone, and the one place where everyone is sure they have an upper hand — that wow-inducing clickable screen — just isn’t all that great. For casual users, the learning curve and complexity of this phone will feel like an instant turn off, and for power users, the lack of a decent typing option and considerable lagginess in software will give them pause. RIM tried to strike some middle ground between form and function, and unfortunately came up short on both.

(Thanks to @smokingapples for the headsup on the above four reviews.)

update 11/26: Ouch. The New York Times David Pogue offeres perhaps the most scathing review yet:

I’ve got a better name for it: the BlackBerry Dud.
The first sign of trouble was the concept: a touchscreen BlackBerry. Hello? Isn’t the thumb keyboard the defining feature of a BlackBerry? A BlackBerry without a keyboard is like an iPod without a scroll wheel. A Prius with terrible mileage. Cracker Jack without a prize inside… Incredibly, the Storm even muffs simple navigation tasks…
Maybe Storm isn’t such a bad name for this phone. After all—it’s dark, sodden and unpredictable.

UPDATE 1/8/2009: Great post comparing customer satisfaction surveys of Storm and iPhone owners of after one month, also concluding that user experience more important than touchscreen.

7 thoughts on “Blackberry Storm vs. iPhone: Similar Experience or Disaster?

  1. Interesting that you chose to focus on just the negative reviews and not balance it out with quotes from some of the glowing and positive reviews of the Storm.

    From the website i linked…
    ” So how did RIM do with the on-screen keyboard? Very, very well. The Storm screen can be likened to the new MacBook trackpad in that the entire screen is a big button. This means when you press a key on the keyboard or a menu item you hear and feel a click just like pushing a real button. This provides a level of tactile feedback when typing on the screen never before experienced on another device. The button clicking means you can ramp up your typing speed pretty quickly and typing on the Storm feels a lot like typing on a “real” keyboard. The SurePress technology as RIM calls it is simply stunning in its performance.”

  2. Interesting that you chose to focus on just the negative reviews and not balance it out with quotes from some of the glowing and positive reviews of the Storm.

    From the website i linked…
    ” So how did RIM do with the on-screen keyboard? Very, very well. The Storm screen can be likened to the new MacBook trackpad in that the entire screen is a big button. This means when you press a key on the keyboard or a menu item you hear and feel a click just like pushing a real button. This provides a level of tactile feedback when typing on the screen never before experienced on another device. The button clicking means you can ramp up your typing speed pretty quickly and typing on the Storm feels a lot like typing on a “real” keyboard. The SurePress technology as RIM calls it is simply stunning in its performance.”

  3. I wonder more about the speed and coverage Vs. the iPhone. I mean I lurve my phone, but half the house is off limits because I get no reception.

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