I spent some time analyzing a Blackberry Storm 2 in a Verizon store in Norwalk, CT where I chatted with prospective customers as well as Verizon store employees and management. First the phone itself is improved with WiFi support, a capacitive touchscreen and worldphone support. I think typing on the device is about as good as it is on the iPhone at this point. Although a common feature of smartphones I really like the ability to go back to my last application. As you would expect the device is fine for applications like email where it does a good job of understanding what is typed and autocorrecting text, it still comes up short as a web browser.
Prospective customers I spoke with were not extremely impressed by the device and most I spoke with were in the store to compare the phone with – you guessed it, the iPhone.
By the way, reasons given to me to not buy the iPhone include the AT&T network and the fact that applications like Loopt (the iPhone needs to allow background apps for it to function properly) and Blackberry Messenger don’t work on it.
Store employees were eager to volunteer that Droid is coming out in a few weeks and is worth a look. They also mentioned that there was interest in the latest RIM phones and many are selling but unlike the rollout of the first version of this device, they aren’t seeing the long lines. Then again, it was a cold and rainy day which could have been part of the problem as nearby Stew Leonard’s, that world famous supermarket had half the normal amount of cars in its parking lot.
My take? People have already purchased their iPhones and other smartphones and if they weren’t out in force today to see their Storm 2, they aren’t coming out in force to see the Droid. Besides I haven’t seen much if any consumer promotion for this gadget – could this be a sign of Verizon giving up and hoping for better results from the new Google Powered Motorola phone? If the Droid is the iPhone killer Verizon store representatives say it is, the death will be very slow as word of mouth and advertising get more people to trade up. Time will tell.