How to Use the BlackBerry Storm

Michael Kwan
How to Use the BlackBerry Storm

Since it is the first phone from Research in Motion to feature a touchscreen display, learning how to use the BlackBerry Storm is quite different form using any other BlackBerry device. For starters, there is no trackball and no hardware keyboard. Instead, the vast majority of your interface is done through the clicking touchscreen.

Introducing the Storm

It is clear that BlackBerry phones are very popular among the business community. This is largely because these devices are arguably the best for handling mobile e-mail, but many corporations also appreciate the enterprise-level security offered by the BlackBerry Internet Service and BlackBerry Enterprise Server.

With the BlackBerry Pearl and the BlackBerry Storm, Research in Motion appears to be shifting some of its focus to the consumer market. These phones are still viable for business users, but they're meant to be trendier and more fashionable for the average non-business customer.

Some of the basic features on this cell phone include a 3.25-inch touchscreen, high-speed wireless broadband connectivity, 3.5mm audio jack, 1GB internal storage, microSD expansion slot, Bluetooth 2.0, 3.15MP camera, aGPS, and BlackBerry Maps.

How to Use the BlackBerry Storm

In learning how to use the BlackBerry Storm, the operating system and user interface is similar to what you would get with other contemporary BlackBerry devices. If you already know how a BlackBerry works, then you will already be reasonably familiar with the BlackBerry Storm.

There are some differences, of course, and the most notable of this is the clicking touchscreen display. This was meant to allow BlackBerry to better compete against alternative devices like the Apple iPhone and HTC Touch Diamond.

SurePress Touchscreen Technology

Featuring the first touchscreen on a BlackBerry, the BlackBerry Storm is a major departure from the traditional BlackBerry interface. This is as substantial as the shift from the scroll wheel to the trackball several years ago.Unlike most other touchscreen cell phones, however, the touchscreen on the BlackBerry Storm offers a two-stage interface. If you use your finger and simply touch the surface of the screen, that's the first level. If you then use your finger to "click" the screen inward, as if it was a physical button, that's the second stage.

BlackBerry refers to this technology as SurePress, following in the naming scheme of the SureType keyboard found on the BlackBerry Pearl. The SurePress screen is the first thing you'll need to learn if you want to know how to use the BlackBerry Storm.

To type messages and otherwise enter text, you'll need to use the second stage and "click" the screen to type. If you simply hover and "touch" the screen, the virtual keys will get highlighted as shown in the image above, but they will not be entered.

Surfing the Mobile Internet

As with the Apple iPhone, navigating through the web on the BlackBerry Storm involves swiping motions on the touchscreen display. To scroll through a web page, simply drag your finger from one end of the screen to the other, as if you were moving a physical piece of paper.Unlike the iPhone, however, there is no multi-touch interface for zooming in and out on webpages. Instead, you must bring up the menu to zoom at set intervals. Clicking on links would involve pressing the screen inward on your desired link, just as you would when entering text with the on-screen keyboard.

Downloading Additional Apps

Now that you know the basics of how to use the BlackBerry Storm, you may be yearning to extract additional functionality out of the hot new smartphone. There are a variety of BlackBerry Storm applications for multimedia, instant messaging, photo management, and more. These can be accessed using the BlackBerry App World. There are also third-party software applications available through alternative sources.

A New Chapter in BlackBerry

Based on the trends in the smartphone industry as a whole, touchscreens are quickly rising in popularity so it made sense for RIM to produce one of its own. Learning the ins and outs of the BlackBerry Storm may take a little bit of practice, but you'll get the hang of things in no time at all.

How to Use the BlackBerry Storm