Why does the Storm 2 have Wi-Fi connectivity when the original did not?

There's been a lot of speculation (and irritation) about why the first Storm did not have Wi-Fi capabilities.

Conspiracy theorists believed that because the design process was 'aided' by Vodafone and Verizon, the decision to lose Wi-Fi would mean more data pushed through the 3G networks.

But Uppal does not believe that is the case, rather it was a design limitation:

"There was obvious feedback from users that they wanted Wi-Fi in the device, so we put it in. As you know BlackBerry is a Wi-Fi innovator, but with the original Storm there was just no place to put it in We showed people a circuit board as said: 'where are we supposed to put Wi-Fi in this?'

"There was no plan for Wi-Fi in the first Storm, but the market sent us clear message that, especially for a multimedia device, you need it.

If you look at some of the implementations, for instance the 7digital app, in order for it to work properly you need Wi-Fi and we recognised that was going to be important.

So is the new Storm 2 a different beast to the first device?

In a word: no. It's very much evolution over revolution with the Storm 2, which is actually a shame. We've yet to have a good play with the phone yet to see if all the problems are fixed, but from early tests things look good.

We like elements like speed searching by sender in your emails – simply hold down the person's name and the search is quickly activated.

Little tweaks like moving the 'Send' button to the top of the screen make all the difference, and there's a tangible feel to the doubling of the RAM to 2565MB, with the Storm 2 running quickly smoothly.

BlackBerry storm 2

The touchscreen will feel very similar to some people; with those not aware of the new device being easily forgiven for thinking it's the same one. But the improvements to the SurePress technology were necessary, and it's commendable RIM has done so.

But there's the rub: if the original Storm hadn't been released, this phone would be judged on its merits, rather than just how much better it is than the old one (and despite the sales figures RIM spit out, the first Storm could have been a lot better).

Will this be the mobile to slay the iPhone?

It's not positioned as an iPhone killer, but it's inevitable the comparisons will be there.

It's hard to see where this phone is being positioned – die hard BlackBerry fans might be enticed naturally, but then again they're usually fans of both the emailing system and the QWERTY keyboard, so it will interesting to see if they think the touch option is as good.

You wouldn't buy it as a multimedia device, as many other phones do as good or better a job at playing back video or music.

But the biggest win could be in the corporate market, especially for those that have buying power within their company. Many people have a BlackBerry for work simply because they have to – they then carry another 'pleasure' phone with them.

This could be the device that converges the two – it just needs to stand up to some proper scrutiny and perform well in all categories.

It's a little expensive at £35 a month on a two year deal, so it will be interesting to see whether this fixes RIM's outreach into other areas of mobile design, or forces it to stick with physical keyboards.