It's been quite the year as we've all witnessed RIM and Google make some interesting moves in the market. We’ve speculated, waited, hoped, were surprised, and many other things as these two corporations struggled to end the year with a bang. Sure enough we got some exciting game changers coming from both ends, hardware and software wise.
Research In Motion
On Research In Motions side of the fence, they began their official consumer market shift with the BlackBerry Storm 9500/9530. I personally owned this device and I will admit it was an odd introduction of Blackberry's first touchscreen phone. After using the BlackBerry Storm one for six months, one day I came across an old video of the hype surrounded by the release of the Storm 1. The dude was extremely excited when he did the unboxing. Watching his excitement over that phone was sickening because we were all so naive and didn't know what were getting into. It just sounded like magic. A touchscreen Blackberry, WOW! Now don't get me wrong, I loved the device and defended it like no other because I saw its potential, however the software that the phone released with was a joke. The obvious hardware uncomfort and tweaking and OS loading, wiping, waiting, hoping. It just all got so tiring.

But for those of us who stuck through it until 5.0 and the Blackberry Storm 2, there has been some obvious improvement, and the device has evolved into a pretty kick ass BlackBerry Storm 2 9550. RIM is coming with some strong improvements with the announcement of Open GL, flash support, and the Browser webkit, so us BlackBerry users will finally really feel like were pronouncing ourselves as fierce competition here to stay.
On Google's side of the fence, we all heard about Android and how smooth it's Operating System was, but the voice of Android was too muted. Plagued by terrible hardware and less than excellent additional services, it lay in the shadows of the iPhones light and the constant back lashing between BlackBerry and iPhone users. Low key it brewed. Even being a hardcore BlackBerry user since the Storm, I posted a comment in another forum stating that yes, while iPhone does have its flashy Operating System, that wont stop Android from creeping up from the back and giving iPhone something to think about. I still don't think its as much of a threat to BB considering there are key ingredients that BlackBerry possesses and vice versa that make them pretty even.

However it looks like the Moto Droid and the other new Android phones like the HTC Eris, are standing strong against the iPhone. Now that's enough to make one explode. Android platform is coming hard and the amount of applications in it's store are increasing. By the way, I hear something about a Gphone...

So enough of the jibber jabber, lets take a look at some of the hottest latest and greatest coming from Research in Motion's BlackBerry and Googles Android.

The BlackBerry Storm 2 9520/9550

While very similar to the Blackberry Storm in first appearance, after thoroughly using this device the differences are highly noticeable and greatly appreciated. I now own the BlackBerry Storm 2 so noticing the improvements from the BlackBerry Storm 1 was pretty easy. The new Surepress design has tremendously improved with the introduction of Piezo electricity as a means of haptic feedback. The device still clicks, but the screen is no longer uncomfortable or wobbly like the first one was. The darker chrome to me is a lot nicer than the gaudy silver on the first one, but some like it. The device feels more complete in the hand, alot more user friendly, faster with its updated processor, and amazing in all aspects. The Blackberry Storm 2 will be one of the first Blackberry devices to use Open GL. Why would RIM put this phone out there so quietly? It could be the fact that it was over hyped by Verizon. Or it could be that Verizon has some big contracts with Google and Android, so pushing the Droid over the Storm 2 would probably be in their best interest for big bucks. Regardless, the phone holds its ground and has been getting raving reviews. Finally, a touchscreen Blackberry that just works!

Here are some specs as shown on the blackberry website.

The Motorola Droid

Then we have the Motorola Droid. This new phone was released as a direct competitor to the iPhone recently. So far it has been doing great it in sales and holding up fierce to the competition. It does serve as a good alternative to the iPhone for those who love Verizons service, however no phone has yet to destroy the iPhone. With Android it will more likely be a set of phones that will attempt to topple iPhone sales. This phone features the thinnest slide out keyboard that exists with one of the largest touch screen displays available. It features Google Maps, an App store with tons of games, 3D graphics and widgets. Now I have gotten a chance to play with the device and I must say now that it has officially released, the phone is a whole lot better than what I imagined it would be. Yes the phone has released with its quirks and issues just like any first generation device, but the benefits of having the Droid I'm sure outweigh those negatives. Who doesn't want an awesome lightening fast browser with smooth accurate zooming? Who doesn't want voice search, and a large 3.7" screen. Two words folks, Droid Does. ;D

Blackberry Bold 2 9700

Yet another amazing device that RIM has released this year, the BlackBerry Bold 2 is a highly satisfactory upgrade from the Bold 1. Not only is the device lighter by 16g, it's faster sporting the latest Qualcomm processors, and feels more natural and sleeker in the hand. It has sculpted keys now that allow the user to locate keys better creating a more accurate, mentally and physically comfortable typing experience. It rids of a trackball, and utilizes track pad navigation technology. All that aside, this device has literally transformed from the first Bold physically. It is a lot less bulkier, a lot more space efficient, the absense of an outdated trackball is supreme with the the track pad in place. Yes, the device does take on a very business luxury look, but no matter what your profession is, the Bold 9700 definitely delivers on the principals of a classic phone and further, smartphone.
Here are some specs on the Bold 2.

HTC Droid Eris

This sleek new Android device manufactured by HTC is also a strong alternative to the Motorola Droid. For those that want a smaller device that fits more neatly in the hand, the HTC Eris is the phone for you. While it doesn't have the large screen display that the Moto Droid does, the resolution on the screen in fantastic. The call quality is great and the virtual keyboards are well done. It comes with Google maps, calendar, search, and talk. It comes with an Intuitive Sense Interface, multi-touch capabilities, a 5mP camera (no flash), and a bunch more goodies making the Droid Eris a strong competitor in the world of smartphones. The video streaming through youtube is really nice. It's alot better than whats available currently on the BlackBerry platform. The visual and color detail through the screen makes this pretty attractive. If your looking for a slimmer, pocket friendly, more ergonomic Motorola Droid, the HTC Eris is definitely a safe route for that experience. It doesn't slack off the droid name one bit.

So there you have it folks, four amazing devices to close off the fourth quarter of 2009. RIM and Google have shown nothing but improvement over the last couple of months sparking new hope for us consumers that the iPhone isn't the only phone that can stir up the crowd. While the iPhone continues to be a success, it seems that soon or a later it's glow will fade with platforms like Android and RIM coming full force. Android sporting its sci-fi software that will hopefully grow into an even more visually pleasing version of that, with its full search and information capabilities that google has perfect. And Research in Motion, known for their high smartphone security, fastest push email, who have seen a few struggles with it's software and browser, but are now making the right moves such as Open GL support, superb build quality, and sci-fi hardware that we only wish could sport the slick User Interface of the android. Regardless, both companies are giving consumers what they have been asking for, but this doesn't seem to be the end of the road, as January marks the beginning of a whole new quarter, with device being released that will only define upon the existing principals which were introduced with the latest devices of the companies. Happy Thanksgiving Folks! I'm thankful for my Storm 2, which phone are you thankful for this holiday?

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