The Battle Of The Touchscreen Phone

Posted on: 09 October 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

BlackBerry have unveiled their latest mobile to challenge Apple, Nokia and Google's latest release.

Vodafone have this week launched the brand new BlackBerry Storm smartphone in the UK.

The Storm is touted to be the first ever ‘clickable’ touch screen smartphone in the world and will be available exclusively on Vodafone’s high speed 3G mobile broadband network in Europe, India, Australia and New Zealand from next month.

With email, messaging, multi-media and internet capabilities already built into the smartphone, the new Storm model promises to revolutionise the mobile experience with the introduction of a ground breaking large touch screen and virtual keyboard.

But just what is all the fuss about and more importantly - will it ever rise up and overcome the shadow of the iPhone?

Most mobile and music fans will be aware of the hype surrounding the iPod and recently the iPhone but no matter how good the Storm is, not many people are aware of its release, or even its function.

Just like many other self-respecting smartphones these days, the BlackBerry Storm smartphone features an innovative touch screen which is able to depress slightly whenever you apply some pressure on it with your finger, letting you feel as though you were pressing an actual button, resulting in a “click”.

This provides the user with a positive confirmation of their selection, and is touted to enhance touch interface dramatically, as well as a highly-intuitive typing experience.

The BlackBerry Storm works as well as it looks, being a high end 3G handset with global connectivity. Inside you will find a full HTML browser, email support, a 3.2 megapixel camera, integrated GPS, 1GB of internal memory, a microSDHC memory card slot, stereo Bluetooth connectivity and a 3.25″ display. There is no word on pricing at this point in time, although that situation will change in a few weeks.

Touchscreen Mobile

Touchscreen mobile phones are officially all the rage and BlackBerry have just launched its first ever device to do away with a physical keyboard in favour of a touchscreen interface.

The iPhone has set the standard high in terms of what we expect touchscreen mobiles to be able to do, and other phone manufacturers have struggled to keep up with Apple’s pace.

But BlackBerry’s Storm has been released to do battle with the iPhone and in the last couple of weeks, two other promising handsets have been unveiled that could provide a stiff challenge to Apple.

We take a look a look at the pretenders to Apple’s crown.

Apple’s iPhone 3G

Apple's iPhoneAvailable from free, O2 tariffs starting from £30 per month

For - Multi-touch interface for zooming in and out of web pages and photos. Full Safari web browser with online access via high speed 3G networks and Wi-Fi, push-email. Built in GPS and Google Maps software. Additional programs and software can be downloaded from the Application Store. Music can be purchased from iTunes Music Store when in wireless internet zone.

Against - No support for Flash, which means some online videos cannot be played from within web pages. Virtual keyboard can be tricky to type on. Two-megapixel camera is poor quality and lacks the ability to capture video. No copy and paste function. Cannot send and receive picture text messages. 

BlackBerry Storm

Available from free, Vodafone tariffs starting from £35 per month (Picture at top)

For - Innovative ClickThrough touchscreen, where presses result in a clicking sound and a sensation akin to pressing a physical button. Very high quality screen perfect for watching movies on. Decent 3.2-megapixel camera doubles as a camcorder. Can open and edit Office documents on the go. Great email device. Can download songs over-the-air from Vodafone Music Store. Fast internet access via 3G networks, GPS and maps, support for A2DP Bluetooth protocol, can be connected to computer and used as modem.

Against - No Wi-Fi support. Few extra applications currently available from BlackBerry application store. Device feels bulkier and chunkier than the iPhone. 

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic

£tbc, likely to be available SIM-free at launch

Nokia's new phoneFor - Unlimited over-the-air music downloads from Nokia Music Store bundled in the handset price. Touchscreen with choice of Qwerty keyboard, alphanumeric or handwriting recognition input. Three-megapixel camera with video capture. One-touch access to most frequently contacted friends, supports Flash websites and videos, fast web access.

Against - No multi-touch support, so interface less intuitive than iPhone, Symbian operating system cannot be as easily personalised as the Apple or BlackBerry OS. Lacks smartphone features, aimed at consumers more as an entertainment device than mobile. 

T-Mobile G1

Google AndroidAvailable from free, T-Mobile tariffs starting from £30 per month

For - Runs the open source Android operating system, backed by Google, so plenty of scope for downloading new applications and programs to the phone in future. Features a touchscreen interface and slide-out Qwerty keyboard for speedy typing. Can run several programs simultaneously. Has built-in GPS and mapping software, built-in compass for quick and easy navigation, one-click access to Google search bar.

Against - Device is chunky and less stylish and streamlined than any of the others, first attempt at an Android phone and future handsets are sure to be better. Music download service from Amazon MP3 currently only available in the US. 

Your View

Do you own an iPhone, Nokia or BlackBerry? Which of these four is the best? Would you consider buying one of these four?

Let us know by leaving a comment in the box below. Alternatively, share your thoughts with other readers in the 50connect forums.

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