Tonight I aim to walk into a Verizon Wireless store, and upgrade to a Blackberry Storm.

I’m currently using a Samsung SCH-U740, a phone that has recently been re-branded as the “Alias”. If you were to go to Verizon today, you’d find it on the shelves/website as the Alias. A good phone no doubt. It’s held up well to my abuse, and general use. I’ve recently moved into a position where communication is a bit more prominent than it has been. We have enough of us working on a team that E-Mail and Calendaring is much preferred over the SMS messaging that i’ve been doing primarily on my current phone. It’s served its purpose well, with its dual-flip and full keyboard.

I plan to post again after I’ve purchased the Storm, and used it for a day or so, to give my initial impressions. Then again after a month or so of usage. Assuming that i don’t hate the phone, and have given it back to Verizon. I dont expect that to happen. but who knows.

Today I’m going to talk about why i picked the storm, and what my expectations are. Be aware that i may be be incorrect on some of these assumptions, but you’ll get to see that once i post my first follow-up.

Why the storm?
I want a touch screen phone. I don’t really want to leave Verizon. The Storm was the ONLY touch screen phone offered by Verizon that does not run Windows Mobile. Windows mobile is a horrid piece of trash, and I will not purchase a device that runs it. I’ve heard in the past few days that Verizon now offers another touch screen phone without Windows mobile. It’s an LG, and has a full keyboard when it’s flipped open. I hear that it does not handle e-mail well, and some of its features are locked unless you subscribe to them. I’ll touch on that in a second.

Touch screen aside, i want a phone with email, calendar, and web. We run Zimbra Collaboration Suite at work, and although the storm does not currently support zimbra (which uses activesync to sync over the air) I feel that a popular platform like the BlackBerry is more likely to have some addon written for this functionality, than something that runs a proprietary OS like the LG does. The Storm also has a larger community of folks writing apps for it. Now, the iPhone, and Windows Moble both talk to Zimbra already, but like I said, i have reasons for not going with either of those options.

Features… This phone is packed with them. Including (or so i’m told) an unlocked GPS feature. Which allows me to go and download something like google maps, giving me a fully featured GPS right on my belt at all times. Something that most (if not all) other verizon phones force you to pay monthly for.

I expect that I’ll like this phone. I think that’s obvious, otherwise I wouldn’t be buying it.

I expect that I’ll be able to tweak the storm to make it a little more personalized than is possible with some other phones.

I expect that I’ll be able to find applications to do most of what I’d like to do on this phone. Some things I’d like to do are: Listen to music (including streams, like shoutcast if possible), get directions, and of course, email and calendaring.

What makes me think that this phone will do all of that?
Well, honestly, I dont think it’s going to do every single thing i’d like it to, in fact, i expect that it wont, but if it does, i’ll be VERY pleased. The bottom line is, if it does all of the things that i’ve heard it can, i’ll he happy with it.

What about this Sure-Press screen?
I’ve done a little homework. It seems that the biggest complaint regarding the Storm is the screen. If you’re not familiar with it, I’ll sum it up. The entire screen seems to be mounted on one giant button. When you touch the screen, it responds by hi-lighting things, or scrolling, depending on the gesture of your finger. If you press on the screen slightly, the entire screen clicks, like a button. This makes me wonder about the longevity of the phone. Will this button start to wear out? Will the screen start to get loose? What about dirt and whatnot getting in the crevices around the screen that allow it to move? All i can say to that is.. I’m going to be careful with the phone, and see how it goes.

As far as the operation of the screen goes. I stopped in at a verizon store, and had a look at a powered up, but not activated Storm. I brought up a new text message, and started typing. I like it. I think it’ll work out just fine. I was able to type a sentence with just as much speed and accuracy as i do on my SCH-U740.

That’s it for now, see you in a few days!