RIM’s BlackBerry Storm 3 in Initial Testing

Research In Motion Ltd. (RIM) has its BlackBerry Storm 3 in initial testing, according to IntoMobile, and the new smartphone will be LTE (Long-Term Evolution aka. 4G) capable if you are lucky enough to be on Verizon’s network. Perhaps what is most interesting though about the upcoming BlackBerry Storm 3 is that if the rumors hold true, it will not be running Blackberry OS 6, but instead a customized product specific operating system. Maybe the same as will be running on the BlackBerry Tablet that may come out by the end of the year?

A touch-screen specific OS that builds on OS 6 would be an interesting idea for RIM to implement. Between the Blackberry Storm 3 and tablet, RIM will definitely need to step its game up from its previous tosses of the hat into the touch-screen smartphone arena.  Both the BlackBerry Storm 1 and 2 were disappointing attempts by RIM. Plagued by poor application support in the past, the Storm line needs a major overhaul if RIM is planning on keeping it.

Where would the BlackBerry 9800 Torch fit into all of this though? That device will be sporting a slide-out keyboard and a touch-screen. The rumors have all been saying OS 6, but expect at least parts of this new touch-screen specific OS to find their way into the Torch’s firmware.

As for the rumored specifics, the Storm 3 certainly has tablet-worthy internals: A 1 GHz processor linked to 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage (presumably augmentable via microSD). While it is never fair to compare different processors solely by clock speed, Apple’s iPad also sports a 1GHz processor. At the moment, Apple’s tablet only ships with 256MB of RAM. However, consumers looking to stock up on music, videos and books might be more impressed with Apple’s 16, 32 and 64GB fixed storage offerings.

While you can—justifiably so I might add—protest that microSD frees devices from the shackles of storage limitations and makes spending extra money for fixed storage that may never be utilized a waste. The average consumer will simply look at the packaging and make a decision, or not want to bother with the hassle of choosing which brand and size of microSD to choose.

Wait a minute here, I am starting to sound like I expect the specs in the Storm 3 to mirror RIM’s still secret tablet.  Is that because I really think that the Storm 3 is going to be sharing a lot with tablet? Part of me certainly thinks so. The smartphone/tablet niche requires that device manufacturers keep the specs not outrageously high above a smartphone, yet comfortably lower than what a laptop is capable of doing. This saves battery life and keeps the overall cost low enough that consumers will spring for the tablet instead of a laptop. Apple’s iPhone 4 is comparable to the company’s tablet. What is to keep RIM from producing a table that is comparable to the Storm 3?

Opinions on the Storm 3? Think that it will share an OS and/or hardware with the BlackBerry Tablet? Let me know.

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