Typing on the BlackBerry Storm

I had a very brief hands on with a BlackBerry Storm last weekend at a Telus ‘roadshow’. The first touchscreen BlackBerry has been hyped pretty hard, so it had a heck of a lot to live up to.

Let’s just get it out of the way: yep, a bit disappointing. Now, I spent only around 10 minutes trying out the SurePress interface system and came away somewhat worried about the execution. The idea is absolutely marvelous and accuracy seemed more than fine (I was pleasantly surprised how nice it felt overall), but the rebound of the screen was a bit slow, limiting the speed at which you can type. I think this is the main issue many reviewers are coming upon, even if they don’t identify it as such. The ‘unresponsive’ description of the touchscreen has to do with the fact that a second action is attempted before the screen ‘resets’ itself. Think trying to double-click your mouse too quickly. Is this a big deal? Yeah, it sure can be. Perhaps RIM needs to consider an option to disable SurePress and let it function as with most other touchscreens, with the select and execute actions rolled into a single touch.

Some reviews and extended hands-on comments have said given time, one gets used to the new input method. I have no doubt of that. But the question for me is whether ‘gets used to’ is enough to actually enjoy using the device. I don’t want something I simply tolerate. I should be able to get an extended try-out with the Storm sometime this week or next, so hopefully I’ll be able to see if one indeed gets used to SurePress to make it a breeze to use.

One thing’s for sure; I’m looking for the device that melds the email and business features of the BlackBerry and the big-display usefulness of the iPhone. I need some more time to see if the Storm is the device I’m looking for.