A week after launching a hosted application store for its smartphones, BlackBerry (News - Alert) maker Research In Motion is eyeing a plan to release a new version of its first-ever touch screen device later this year, but with WiFi (News - Alert) capabilities, according to a Grapevine, Texas-based personal technology news source.
In this story, Steven Grady of Slashgear, part of R3 Media LLC, cites unnamed sources claiming that Verizon (News - Alert) has green-lighted RIM’s plan to release the BlackBerry Storm 2 in September.
“While we’re not able to name our source, we can say that we’ve no doubts regarding the veracity of their information,” Grady reports. “The source gave us their assurances that the Storm 2 would have WiFi, and would be an even better Pro-consumer device than the first Storm. We wonder if RIM and Verizon will make any changes to the touchscreen, a common point of complaint for the first-gen devices; comments he dropped lead us to believe WiFi isn’t the only thing RIM and Verizon have up their sleeve with the Storm 2.”
A RIM spokesperson told TMCnet that the company's policy is not to comment on rumor or speculation.
The Storm – RIM’s answer to Apple’s groundbreaking iPhone – is said to be poised for a market share uptick with the launch last week of the so-called “BlackBerry App World” online store.
The company says it expects about 1,000 apps to be posted this week, including programs from Salesforce.com, the New York Times, Pandora, MTV, ClearChannel, MySpace (News - Alert), Bloomberg and Shazam.
Jim Balsillie, RIM’s co-chief executive officer, called App World a “fantastic” new resource.
“We are launching BlackBerry App World with a solid selection and we look forward to working with our partners to continue delivering the types of apps that best suit our customers’ personalized needs and interests,” he said.
Users need an account with eBay Inc.‘s PayPal payment service and a BlackBerry with a trackball or touch screen.
Meanwhile, rumors of a “new” BlackBerry Storm already are spreading quickly through the telecom media space.
As Daniel Ionescu of PC World says here, if true, the rumors would mean that “old” BlackBerry Storm models wouldn’t even be a year old when they become “obsolete” in September.
“The addition of WiFi is in no way a surprise, as technically its lack made the BlackBerry Storm inferior to its main rival, Apple’s (News - Alert) iPhone 3G,” Ionescu reports. “Meanwhile, there’s still a debate whether Verizon deliberately pulled WiFi to make BlackBerry Storm users dependent on the paid carrier services, but nevertheless the (yet again obvious) wireless connectivity addition is welcome.”
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Michael Dinan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Michael's articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Michael Dinan