by Al Sacco

BlackBerry Storm 2 to Sport Second-Gen SurePress Touch Screen After All??

May 28, 20093 mins
Data CenterMobileSmall and Medium Business

"SurePress is here to stay," according to Research In Motion's (RIM) co-CEO. But will the BlackBerry "Storm 2" feature another "clicky" SurePress screen just like its predecessor's?

Recently leaked images of RIM’s upcoming BlackBerry Storm successor, unofficially dubbed “Storm 2”–and a very early hands-on review–seemed to suggest that BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) had decided to scrap the infamous “clicky” SurePress screen technology that set RIM’s first touch BlackBerry apart from the pack. However, RIM’s co-CEO yesterday clearly stated that SurePress is alive and well. So will we see a second SurePress BlackBerry Storm? And is that pictured device simply a pre-production unit with a different screen than what will ship with the finished product?

RIM BlackBerry Storm 2
RIM BlackBerry “Storm 2” (image via Engadget Mobile)

Mike Lazaridis, RIM’s founder and co-CEO had this to say about the Storm 2 and SurePress when queried yesterday at the Wall Street Journal‘s D: All Things Digital event:

“SurePress is here to stay.”

Lazaridiss statement clearly puts to bed speculation that the company is doing away with SurePress all together. Such rumors are really groundless anyway, as the first Storm and its screen have been a resounding success for RIM and Verizon Wireless, the exclusive U.S. Storm provider–at least from a commercial perspective. I just can’t see RIM “investing” all those SurePress R&D man hours, either. And the company was even awarded a prestigious Mobile World Congress Award for SurePress.

It’s worth noting that in no way did Lazaridis say that the Storm 2 will have SurePress. All he said is that the company’s still working with the technology. So it could potentially show up in later devices, like the rumored Magnum, and not the Storm successor.

The first leaked images of the Storm 2 showed a screen that does not depress and click like the first Storm’s and quickly set the rumor mill a ‘rollin. What nobody seems to have pointed out–at least that I’ve seen–is that the screen on the pre-production Storm 2 may in fact just be a “place holder” for a new, improved screen that might work very much like the original Storm display.

Of course, this is just my own speculation, and the fact that the leaked Storm’s screen actually works–you can see the BlackBerry OS startup screens as it boots–hints that it might in fact be very similar to the “final” screen.

But two things in particular make me think my idea might be on target: 1) The “Send” and “End” icons on the BlackBerry Storm 2’s screen are different than the icons on any other BlackBerry device, including the upcoming Tour, “Onyx” and Curve 8520 devices. And frankly, the icons look “unfinished.” That could be because the pictured screen is not the final product.

Secondly, the only video of the Storm 2, from Engadget Mobile, shows the device boot up, but the reviewer can’t seem to get past the BlackBerry OS start-up screens. That’s because he can’t click the screen–or do anything else to make the device respond. That could be because the “new” screen simply isn’t working correctly–but it could also be that the screen is not the one that will ship with the final Storm 2.

We’ll just have to be patient to learn the truth here, I guess, but the wait might not be as long as some have predicted. Early rumors pegged the device’s release in the fall, but more recent speculation says the Storm 2 could hit Verizon Wireless as soon as June. (I say, don’t hold your breath on that one, considering RIM hasn’t even announced it yet, let alone set a release date…)


Via Engadget and All Things D