BlackBerry Storm Off to Bumpy Start

Published January 29, 2009

| Wall Street Journal

Verizon Wireless and Research In Motion Ltd. have high hopes for the BlackBerry Storm, which they spent nearly two years developing as their big response to Apple Inc.'s iPhone.

But despite a marketing campaign that cost more than $100 million, the smart phone has gotten off to a bumpy start.

Some early buyers have complained about technical bugs with RIM's first touch screen BlackBerry, although others say most new gadgets have problems that need to be ironed out.

People familiar with the matter say Verizon Wireless, is the exclusive U.S. carrier for the device, sold roughly 500,000 units in the first month after the Storm's Nov. 21 launch.

That is a promising start, though well off the pace of AT&T Inc.'s sale of 2.4 million iPhone 3G devices in that device's first full quarter on the market.

Some Storm owners have complained about everything from clunky software for typing on the touch screen to the device's sluggish performance with basic tasks like dialing-by-voice or taking photographs.

"I found myself wanting to throw it in the ocean due to my frustration with its overall usability," said Steven Golub, a longtime Verizon customer from Morristown, N.J., who bought the Storm the day it was released, but returned it a few weeks later.

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