BY NOREEN: Research in Motion Ltd (RIM), maker of the Blackberry, released its first mobile phone with a touch-screen on Wednesday, its answer to the popular Apple iPhone.
The smartphone, the Blackberry Storm, will be available later this year through Verizon Wireless in the United States and Vodafone in Europe, India, Australia and New Zealand, the Canadian company said.
The Storm resembles the iPhone but its color touch-screen differs in that it is "clickable" -- the screen depresses slightly when touched like a typewriter key.
RIM president Mike Lazaridis described the touch-screen as a "truly tactile touch interface" which "solves the longstanding problem associated with typing on traditional touch-screens."
Users navigate on the touch-screen by using their finger like a cursor, scrolling, highlighting, panning and zooming and clicking on selections.
Other features of the Storm include wireless email through high-speed 3G mobile broadband networks, an HTML Web browser which allows audio and video streaming and SMS, MMS and IM messaging.
It also features a media player, a 3.2-megapixel camera, a video camera and Global Positioning System (GPS) capability along with Blackberry Maps.
RIM did not provide a price for the phone or a release date except to say it would be available by the Christmas holiday season.
The Storm is seen by industry analysts as Blackberry's response to the iPhone and an attempt to increase its popularity beyond that of businessmen addicted to its email capabilities.
The release of the Storm also comes some two weeks after Internet giant Google entered the mobile phone market with a smartphone developed with T-Mobile, the T-Mobile G1, which runs on Google open-source software.