20 Dec. 2008
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RIKLReviewTM The BlackBerry Storm (Part 2.5)

Intuition, and Half a Day Off

You will recall my comments on the "manual" in Part 1.  If it wasn't clear, I was not referring to the BlackBerry Storm manual that might come with the BlackBerry Storm if it existed in printed form.  I was actually referring the the "manual" that Verizon did ship, in printed form, with the Storm.  There is a far better and more comprehensive manual for the Storm that one can find in the "Help" section of the included software.  (And if that isn't clear, "far better and more comprehensive" is not much of a challengeit still isn't a good manual, but at least it's useful.)

I mention this second manual because I was referring to it constantly while trying out some of the Storm features since Part 2 of my review.  The reason that this is only Part 2.5 is that I'm finding all manner of "bugs" which may well not be bugs, but simply cockpit error or misunderstandings of my own.  Since I titled this section, in part, "Intuition," I should at least explain what I mean.  When I operate a device, especially one meant for regular humans rather than one that is a highly technical laboratory instrument, it should operate the way I think it should, not the way it actually does.  I have been corrupted by the Motorola Q, which, I should emphasize has quirks of its own, but which quirks I've grown accustomed to ignoring over the past two years.  So, I would expect the Storm to operate in a similar way.  Here are a few of my tentative observations:

  • The music player seems too easy to derail.  Even if the Storm is "locked" it stops for various reasons, and it's a nuisance to get it started again.

  • There doesn't seem to be any easy way to get the internal GPS to track the BlackBerry map continuously.  Getting latitude, longitude, and altitude is a challenge, even though it should be by far the simplest data to display.

  • The alarm didn't go off when I expected it to.

  • The camera "zoom" feature isn't.

  • Ring tones don't work when the Storm is plugged into the execrable micro-USB cable.

  • It doesn't seem obvious how you can get a phone number into a "contact" after you've finished the call.

Please don't (yet!) consider these as criticism of the Storm.  Rather, any or all of them could be due to my failure to understand this marvelously complex product in the few days that I've had it. 

I still intend to provide "in-depth" reviews of some of the features, as promised.  But I spent entirely too much time yesterday battling traffic and weather.  I normally manage to avoid this, but once in a while airplanes schedules are just plain rude.

Some Serious Praise for Research In Motion

Since I got the Storm, I've twice had occasion to email RIM (BlackBerry's manufacturer).  The most recent email was to inquire about getting a printed copy of the manual that's only available as a PDF.  Here's their answer:

Hello Richard,

Thank you for contacting BlackBerry Customer Support.

I am sorry to say we do not have printed manals to provide. You may download the user guide for your BlackBerry Smartphone from:
Please be advised that your service provider fields general queries and provides technical support for all BlackBerry-related issues. Please contact your service provider for further support.

All BlackBerry Smartphone users have free access to the BlackBerry Technical Solution Center. The BlackBerry Technical Solution Center provides a repository of support information, documentation and frequently asked questions, with enhanced search capabilities so you can easily search for and find the BlackBerry support information you need. Please visit:
Thank you again for contacting us Richard and have a great weekend.


They told me "No" and I'm offering serious praise?  Yes, I sent my inquiry at 10:23:17 and I received their answer at 10:29:20.  This was on a Saturday morning.  The other inquiry was on Friday, and was answered almost as swiftly.  Most incredibly, both answers were responsive to the questions, rather than being a random collection of "cut and paste" paragraphs.  My serious commendation to a company that actually seems to understand how to respond to customer email.

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Richard Factor

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