Verizon BlackBerry Storm2 9550 Gets Official; $179.99 on October 28

Verizon Wireless has officially announced the successor to RIM's popular BlackBerry Storm smartphone, the Storm2 9550. The touch-screen based device has received a number of hardware and software enhancements, and it's expected to become available in the United States before the end of October.

Leading U.S. wireless carrier Verizon Wireless today announced its latest BlackBerry smartphone, the BlackBerry Storm2 9550. The Storm2 is Research In Motion's (RIM) follow-up effort to the popular touch-screen based BlackBerry Storm 9530, and it builds on the feature-set of that device with new touch-based software features and streamlined design.

image of Research In Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry Storm2 Smartphone
Research In Motion's (RIM) BlackBerry Storm2 Smartphone

Last week, RIM officially announced the Storm2 to the world via a press release about the BlackBerry Storm2 9520 along with U.K. carrier Vodafone. There are currently two versions of the Storm2 on the market: one that runs on U.S. CDMA networks as well as GSM networks (Storm2 9550); and another with only GSM frequencies (Storm2 9520).

Verizon has priced the new BlackBerry Storm2 9550 device at $179.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate and new, two-year service agreement, and it's expected to become available online and in Verizon stores on October 28, 2009.

Specific BlackBerry Storm2 features and enhancements include BlackBerry handheld OS 5.0, which offers users a variety of new BlackBerry functionality; improved "SurePress" screen technology that provides tactile feedback through "clicking;" slimmer, sleeker hardware design; and Wi-Fi support. (The first-generation BlackBerry Storm 9500/9530 was widely criticized for its lack of W-Fi, so this feature is particularly significant.)

Along with its Storm2 announcement, Verizon today announced the availability of BlackBerry handheld OS v5.0.0.328 for the original Storm 9530.

Though just officially announced by RIM earlier this month and by Verizon today, the Storm2 was not at all a secret; various blogs and tech-websites have been leaking images and even publishing reviews for months.

RIM and Verizon's Storm2 announcement comes just a week after the BlackBerry-maker unveiled another much-anticipated smartphone, the BlackBerry Bold 9700. The Bold 9700 is expected to become available in November from AT&T and T-Mobile in the United States for $199.99 after rebates and service commitments.

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