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Quick Hits: BlackBerry Storm Slows to a Drizzle


Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

The BlackBerry Storm appears to have hit turbulence in its effort to take on the iPhone.

Research In Motion (RIMM) spent about 2 years developing the new device and backed the November 21st launch with a $100 million marketing campaign. That got the new smartphone noticed, but early reviews suggest it lags behind Apple (AAPL) iPhone in functionality and gizmo-appeal.

About 500,000 BlackBerry Storms were sold in the first month, making it a solid but unspectacular launch - especially when compared with the iPhone that sold about 2.4 million units in its first full quarter, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Some BlackBerry Storm users say the device is slow and has trouble with simple tasks, such as snapping pictures or dialing by voice.

Verizon's (VZ) fourth-quarter results, scheduled to be released Tuesday, may give investors insight into the Storm's acceptance in the market. Verizon Wireless is the exclusive carrier of the BlackBerry Storm in the US.

BlackBerry has a large and devoted following, including President Barack Obama. Research in Motion may have rushed the new device to market to catch one of the weakest holiday seasons in years. The problems appear to be minor, and the first generation of just about any device has glitches.

But any glitches, no matter how small, are likely to be magnified by the popularity of the iPhone. The technologically illiterate hate the iPhone, but it commands about 25% of the smartphone market in North America.

It looks like Research In Motion has some ground to make up.
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