(Via comScore) The iPhone Reality in Europe: Low Overall Penetration, Enormous Impact

comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today outlined the impact the first three generations of Apple’s iPhone have had on the European mobile market, in light of record pre-sales and extraordinary consumer demand for the iPhone 4, which launches tomorrow.

The iPhone currently represents just 4 percent of the EU5 (U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Italy) mobile market, but 18 percent of the overall EU5 smartphone market. However, the iPhone has facilitated fundamental change in mobile user behaviour and ignited fierce competition among device and operating system (OS) providers.

iPhone owners are the most voracious consumers of mobile media: 94 percent use mobile media, 87 percent use applications and 85 percent browse the mobile internet. With just 4 percent share of the European market, iPhone users represent 12 percent of all mobile media users.

Mobile Media Usage Among European Smartphone Owners by OS Vendor
3 Month Average Ending April 2010
Total EU5 (UK, DE, FR, ES and IT), Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Share of Smartphone Owners Engaging in Activity
Total Smartphone Symbian Apple Microsoft RIM Google
Smartphone Marketshare 100% 58% 18% 13% 8% 3%
Mobile Media Usage
Mobile Media (Browsing, Apps, Downloading) 65% 52% 94% 68% 81% 89%
Web Browsing 53% 39% 85% 56% 66% 83%
App Usage 53% 38% 87% 55% 72% 78%

“The iPhone 4 is set to have a huge impact globally with pre-order handsets selling out and retailing websites buckling under the pressure,” said Jeremy Copp, Vice President Mobile Europe, comScore. “To date the iPhone has had a disproportionate impact on the European mobile market considering its relatively modest installed base of around 10 million. It has catalysed the consumption of mobile media and opened the eyes of brands to mobile as an engaging marketing medium. However, it has also prompted other device manufacturers and OS vendors to elevate their game so the poster-child of the smartphone generation now faces serious competition.”

The European smartphone market is growing 38 percent year-on-year, but the most recent year has seen some significant developments. In the last 12 months, although the dominant OS, Symbian, gained device owners, market momentum has now moved to the North American operating systems of RIM, Apple and Google, each of which has grown by substantial percentage over the past year.

Growth in European Smartphone Owners by OS Vendor
3 Month Avg. Ending April 2010 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending April 2009
Total EU5 (UK, DE, FR, ES and IT), Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Smartphone Owners (000)
April-2009 April-2010 % Change
Smartphone 41,224 56,974 38%
Symbian 28,014 33,146 18%
Apple 3,846 10,019 161%
Microsoft 6,719 7,268 8%
RIM 2,456 4,594 87%
Google 71 1,804 2429%

“Google’s Android is most certainly the one to watch,” added Jeremy Copp. “It has gained about 1.7 million users in a very short period of time and now accounts for 3 percent of the European smartphone market. Crucially, Android user mobile media consumption is very high – slightly behind but comparable to that of Apple. 89 percent use mobile media, 78 percent applications and 83 percent browse the mobile internet. The Droids are coming and current demand for the iPhone 4 implies a titanic battle between Apple and Google is imminent.”

Apple: The iPhone Company

Who is getting rich off the iPhone?

Prius Experience Lets Users Draw On Times Square Billboard via iPhone

Now this is neat.

The first augmented building?

N Building in Tachikawa, Japan

With all the technological advances we’ve seen in recent years, if there’s ever been a sign that said “welcome to the future”, it’s the N Building.

This commercial building in Tachikawa, Japan, has a QR code designed on the outside panels allowing cell phone users to take a picture of the 2D barcode (similar to Blackberry Messenger & other apps) and be directed to the building’s website.

Furthermore, users with an additional app installed on their device (only available on iPhone right now), can aim their camera towards the building and be greeted with an augmented reality layer over the building, showing a more interactive display of the the building’s stores, their sales/promotions, and even showing tweets from within the building.

If you’re confused – or amazed – just watch the video below.

Welcome to the future 2010:

N Building is a commercial structure located near Tachikawa station amidst a shopping district. Being a commercial building signs or billboards are typically attached to its facade which we feel undermines the structures’ identity. As a solution we thought to use a QR Code as the facade itself. By reading the QR Code with your mobile device you will be taken to a site which includes up to date shop information. In this manner we envision a cityscape unhindered by ubiquitous signage and also an improvement to the quality and accuracy of the information itself.

December 15th, 2009 we held an opening which included the limited release of an iPhone application made specifically for N Building. If a QR Code is static, what could we do with a dynamic device like the iPhone? Our proposed vision of the future is one where the facade of the building disappears, showing those inside who want to be seen. As you press on the characters their comments made on online appear in speech bubbles. You can also browse shop information, make reservations and download coupons. Rather

than broadly tagging, we display information specific to the building in a manner in which the virtual (iPhone) serves to enhance the physical (N Building). Our goal is to provide an incentive to visit the space and a virtual connection to space without necessarily being present.

Project by teradadesign+Qosmo.
Music by Airtone.

Wallpaper* city guides on iPhone

Wallpaper*’s excellent City Guides to London, Berlin, New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Milan, Rome and Tokyo are now available as iPhone apps. The Berlin one is currently a free download; the others are £2.39 each.
Via Notcot.

The hierarchy of digital distractions..

hierarchy_distractions_960

This is brilliant.

Click for the full size version.

Your phone is going, you’ve got a direct message from someone on Twitter, and a new Facebook message also. Which do you look at first? Never fear! The above will take you through the hierarchy of digital distractions.

Via Information is Beautiful

BBC iPlayer is mobile’s most wanted

According to recent research by analyst house CCS Insight, the BBC’s iPlayer came out on top in a poll of what the most desired mobile service is with users saying that they want to get access to the TV and radio programmes on their phone.

BBC iPlayerThere are a handful of handsets out there which currently have the ability to play programmes from the iPlayer through 3G and Wifi, for example, a whole host of Nokia’s like the N85, N96 and N97 phone, Samsung’s, Sony-Ericsson’s and the iPhone. The iPhone can however, only stream over Wifi. Considering the amount of storage available on the iPhone, I’d love to to be able to download a programme in an evening and watch it while travelling in to work in the morning. I’d like to think over time, it will be possible!

Consumers’ mobile internet usage is on the increase due to phones like the iPhone coming with ‘all you can eat’ data packages. I use my phone more for web browsing and emailing than I do for actual phone calls. That’s something the telco’s will have noticed as a growing trend and it represents an opportunity for mobile operators to revitalise their ARPU (average revenue per user) and create new data-oriented business models as voice revenues continue to decline.

iPlayeriPhone

In the poll as mentioned above, navigation/maps and unlimited music are the next most desired mobile services after iPlayer, according to the analyst’s report, with around 20% of the votes on each. Maps have been ever present on the more top end of phones for the last few years, I was using an N95 and it’s ‘Maps’ programme about 2 years ago now but it’s becoming more commonplace and a standard feature.

Voda 2005Multiplayer games and other mobile TV were desired by four per cent of the vote apiece, with video calling being requested by just three per cent. Video calling was once a key feature for some top end phones on Vodafone a few years back in 2005. It was expensive, you were prohibited by others needing a front facing camera and well, it never did catch on did it. Picture to the left is Vodafone’s Christmas 2005 handsets which were heavily pushing the 3G technology, increased download speeds and mobile TV.

Interestingly, the respondents of the survey showed that gender informs hardware choice, with Samsung mobiles being twice as popular with women than men – but the reverse being true for the iPhone and BlackBerry. 90% of the users questioned had visited Facebook on their mobile with only 14% having visited Twitter. This for me would be a clear indication of the age of the large majority of users polled, where it was said that 18-35 year olds were polled. I’d think they were mostly of the younger age bracket as it’s well known that Twitter is more widely used by 35+.

8 reasons why an iPhone Gmail app would rock.

via CNET

Tuesday’s release of a much-improved Web client for Gmail on the iPhone and Android handsets was nice, but it’s still got me salivating at the idea of a native application for the iPhone. Over the last year we’ve hounded the Gmail team on whether one was on the way, and the answer is–in typical Google fashion, that there will be no discussion of products that have not been announced.

But that doesn’t mean one isn’t in the works.

So let’s take a look at what a native Gmail application could give us over what Apple is currently offering and is set to release in the upcoming 3.0 firmware.

1. Push delivery/Push notifications
Gmail for Android does something no other client of Gmail does: push notifications. This means that the second you get a message it lets you know with a pop-up. The fastest you can set the iPhone’s Mail application to refresh Gmail is every 15 minutes. So could a native iPhone application do the same thing as Gmail for Android? Probably.

An official Google spokesperson told us that no other platform has this push service (including desktop clients), and the other official Gmail native apps simply auto-refresh every few minutes. With the upcoming firmware 3.0, Google could offer the push notifications of new messages through Apple’s push data stream either in the form of a badge that updates on the app’s icon, or with a small preview that pops up with the first line or two of the message.

2. Offline/Gears
The new version of Gmail for Android has offline reading and composing, meaning you can go through your mail and get work done even when you don’t have a connection. While the iPhone’s Mail app lets you read, save, and compose messages, it doesn’t download a big chunk of your in-box or all of the attachments that come with it, which means you can be out of luck if you can’t get online to view a work document or spreadsheet. Which brings us to…

3. Attachment handling
The attachment viewing of Gmail on the desktop can be an absolute joy. PDFs, PowerPoint presentations and PDFs can be viewed in an HTML viewer that cuts down on the start-up time and the requirement for any special software. While the iPhone can natively view these, it doesn’t include search or the option to save the file locally. A local app could offer both.

Likewise, when composing an e-mail in the native Mail app, adding attachments is limited to photos, which with the upcoming firmware is much simpler with systemwide copy and paste. However, if you’re using the Web client, it’s incapable of accessing your local files, which means you’re stuck using the native app if you want to add or take a quick photo as an attachment.

4. Smarter archiving
Not all Gmail users archive their messages, probably because they don’t understand what it does. Archiving takes a message out of your in-box while keeping it in your account, letting you search for it later. It’s a handy feature, yet the iPhone native mail client gives the impression that we’re deleting messages we don’t want to see in our in-box, something which goes against the very principle of having 7GB of mail storage.

If you’ve set up Gmail using the iPhone’s Gmail setup wizard you can in fact archive messages by selecting them and moving them to your “All Mail” folder. Alternately, for native app users who have set up Gmail using the special IMAP instructions the delete function does not actually delete the message but archives it. Confused? A native Gmail app might make a better differentiation between the two, and let you control what you want deleted and archived from the get-go.

Gmail’s task list

5. A standalone task list
Gmail’s task list is not the most full-featured to-do list app out there, but it’s simple and handy. Having it as part of a native app would let you access it and make edits when offline. Google could even give users the option to create hard due dates for each item, which could be synced up to your phone’s calendar and give you a buzz when they had to be done.

6. Combined contact look-up
Here’s a problem: I have one contact list on my phone and another on Gmail. Sure Google has an official solution that will sync up both and combine them into one massive contact list, but what if I want to keep the two separated to keep my iPhone’s phonebook a little smaller?

A native application would help sort that out by making use of the contacts I have on my phone and giving quick auto-complete-as-you-type suggestions for people on my Gmail contact list. Right now, typing addresses from the native iPhone will only bring up auto-complete suggestions if that person is on my contact list, or if I’ve recently sent them a message.

7. Built-in chat
Chat has become a big part of Gmail’s desktop version, yet on the iPhone it’s relegated to a finger-friendly browser version that will sign you off when you close your browser or switch tabs. That’s not a good solution. Why not build it into a native version of Gmail on the phone like there is on Android?

8. GPS and location awareness
Location is becoming an increasingly important part of mobile apps, and Gmail is no different. When Google puts advertising into the mobile version of Gmail you can bet there’s going to be a play on location. Contextual information from inside of your e-mails is one facet, but if Google can figure out where you are and offer something more targeted, you can bet it will.

More importantly, it will open things up for some fun extras, like being able to announce your location in your signature. This is a feature that’s available in the desktop version, but would be a whole lot more useful when your messages are coming from a mobile phone.

These are just a few reasons the iPhone is long overdue for its own native Gmail app. If you’ve got any of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Social Radar Top 50 Brands

Via Buzzstudy.com

If sheer volume of conversation is any indication, Twitter is the hottest brand in the market. Twitter dominates a tech-heavy list of brands in our March 2009 Social Radar Top 50. The Social Radar Top 50 measures the most social brands by the number of unique topics of conversation. These brands are top of mind for consumers and bloggers today — Social Radar determined rankings according to the number of individual websites with at least one post about each brand to accurately capture the brand’s reach across the web.

The list below is based on overall conversation volume through the month of March 2009, including blog posts, news feeds, forums, social networks and Twitter posts. The +/- number represents the ranking change since February 2009.

Rank

Chg

Brand

1

Twitter

2

Google

3

Obama

4

iPhone

5

Facebook

6

(+1)

Mac

7

(-1)

YouTube

8

Microsoft

9

(+1)

Windows

10

(+6)

iPod

11

(-2)

Apple

12

(+1)

Yahoo

13

(+2)

Sony

14

XBox

15

(+6)

Playstation

16

(+4)

Amazon

17

(-5)

Wii

18

Dell

19

(-8)

Linux

20

(-3)

Nokia

21

(+1)

Samsung

22

(+3)

Firefox

23

(-4)

eBay

24

(+2)

Ford

25

(+6)

BlackBerry

26

(+6)

General Motors

27

(+2)

Fox

28

NFL

29

(-5)

MySpace

30

(-7)

NBA

31

(+2)

Nintendo

32

(-2)

BBC

33

(+1)

Disney

34

(+6)

AT&T

35

(+3)

Honda

36

(+5)

MLB

37

(+11)

Skype

38

(+1)

ABC

39

(+5)

Toyota

40

(+9)

Nike

41

(-4)

LG

42

(-7)

Kindle

43

FedEx

44

(-1)

Wikipedia

45

Nissan

46

CNN

47

Blu-Ray

48

(+2)

UPS

49

IBM

50

Audi

For the full March 2009 list, download the PDF.

So you think you’re an iPhone fanboy?

How about a set of 16 coasters lovingly crafted in to iPhone icons? It’s a reasonably extravagant purchase to spend $60 on iPhone coasters but I tried, they were sold out. Massive iFAIL.

iphone_drink_coasters

Created by the guys over at Brazil’s Meninos these icon coasters are clearly a must for any self discerning iPhone addict. All your favorite applications are present from Calendar to Safari, from Stocks to YouTube. No there’s no Copy & Paste.. Yet.

Audiko – It’s as simple as 1,2,3.

You’ve got an iPhone but are always wondering what’s the easiest way to get ringtones of the songs you already own? It would seem that Audiko is the answer to your problems. Not those ones but the whole ringtone thing.. What’s Audiko? Put simply, it’s a free service which alows you to upload any track, cut it and then download it. Genius. It works with any phone by the way..

There’s a 3 stage process.. and that’s it!

1. Upload your favourite song (or enter a URL) and Audiko will download it. Magic.

2. Choose the best segment.

3. Get the ringtone – Download it to your mobile, share it with friends, put it on your blog!

For example, here’s one I made earlier..

Prodigy - Omen

Mobile phones are the most searched for consumer electronics product; Apple the top brand

Below is a guest posting on the Hitwise blog by Richard Seymour, their UK intelligence analyst and resident gadget expert.

I found the below a pretty interesting read so hope Hitwise don’t mind me reposting. The hot consumer electronics list is full of insights so the webinar linked to below is a recommended click.

We have developed a tool to analyse the consumer electronics search data – The Hitwise Hot Consumer Electronics List. For the most recent week’s data (week ending 14/03/09), we can see that mobile phones are the most searched for products online, accounting for almost 30% of all consumer electronics searches. The top phone is consistently the Apple iPhone, with approximately 1 in 12 mobile phone searchers currently searching for all variations of the iPhone. The iPhone has so far only been surpassed on the odd week or two during the launches of new phones. For example, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic which launched on 23rd January 2009, took top spot during w\e 14th Feb, picking up 6.6% of all mobile phone searches. However it fell back to second spot the following week, where it remains with 4.7% of all mobile searches.

Mobile_phones_video_Games_computers_software_televisions_cameras_game_consoles_mp3_players_sat_navs_toys_hobbies_hitwise.png

1 in 10 searches are for video games – over twice as many as for games consoles in seventh place – with Resident Evil 5 the most searched for video game last week. Computers and software sit in third and fourth places, and televisions are the fifth most searched for gadget with 4.5% of all searches last week. Cameras, Mp3 players, Satellite Navigation systems, -dominated by TomTom – and Toys complete the top 10 most searched for consumer electronics product types.

Lego is the top Toys and Hobbies brand, accounting for almost 1 in 8 Toys and Hobbies searches. However, the Danish company doesn’t make it into our list of the overall top 20 most searched for consumer electronics brands. These are highlighted in the treemap below, which shows the most popular brands in the Hitwise Consumer Electronics List. The size of the box represents its relative size to the top 20, with the top 10 represented by their logos.

apple_nokia_samsung_dell_sony_sony_ericsson_lg_hp_panasonic_nintendo_hitwise.PNG

We can see that Apple leads the pack, with 12% of all branded searches – almost twice as many as Nokia. As we saw above, Apple’s iPhone sits ahead of Nokia’s phones in the mobile phone market, but it is iTunes and their iPods that really sets the company apart from the rest of market in terms of searches. In the top 10, Samsung, Sony, LG and Panasonic all compete amongst multiple product ranges (most notably televisions), whereas Dell and HP share their involvement in the computers and printers categories. As we can see, the Hot Consumer Electronics List allows us to compare brand share amongst brands that would never normally be compared based on their niche product ranges, such as Blackberry, Dyson, TomTom and Nikon.

Another great use of the tool is to identify and gauge interest in new products, brands and fast-moving product areas. For example, we were able to track the increase in searches for netbooks in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and the continued interest in them as more models enter the market. The chart below, made up of portfolios of search terms for netbooks extracted from this consumer electronics search tool, allows us to see that not only is the Samsung NC10 clearly the most searched for netbook, but also that the new Archos 10 has shot from nowhere to be one of the most searched for netbooks, and the 6th most searched for computer overall.

samsung_nc10_acer_aspire_one_archos_10_hp_2133_mini_note_asus_ee_hitwise.png

We have also been able to identify seasonal consumer behaviour. For example, there was a 31% increase in searches for garden products last week, with lawn mowers and especially the Bosch Rotak 34 the products of choice. There was also a 10% increase in searches for vacuum cleaners, lead by the Dyson DC25 as the Spring cleaning bug starts to hit.

The question is, are retailers and manufacturers already optimised for these products as we approach Easter? If you want to know more about the Hot Consumer Electronics List and see how it can help you, we’ve put together a short webinar describing how it works in more detail which you can watch here. If you have any further questions, please feel free to use the comments box below.

Follow Hitwise UK on Twitter.

The Blackberry Storm – “Embarrassingly awful”

I was thinking about collating a few of the reviews together in one central place to guage the general concensus on the Blackberry Storm and then saw what we have here to the left only cemented the opinion that it was a worthwhile posting.

A message by the one and only Stephen Fry on Twitter who managed to encapsulate all the reviews I’ve read so far, some weighing in at 5+ pages, all in 140 characters. Another win for Twitter then!

As a tech geek I’ve been watching RIM’s moves in to the consumer market with interest.. Native instant messaging, MySpace and Facebook apps for starters, these aren’t the mainstay of the enterprise user.

I can’t imagine this being the type of PR that RIM expected (especially from someone as influential and with such a wide reach like Stephen Fry) the release of the ‘Storm’ to drum up but as I see it, it’s put itself in direct comparison with the iPhone which has the touch screen experience completely down to a tee.. Obviously it’s not perfect, there are misgivings and sacrifices to be made, but there isn’t anything out there than can touch it (I’m sorry!). The BB Storm goes to show just how good it is.

Both Apple and RIM have tried to win over the different sides, the way I see it is that Apple is (Consumer) and RIM (Enterprise). Apple’s failings whilst making steps in to the enterprise have been well documented. Much of the comments from Stephen Fry above could be quite easily attributed to Apple’s Mobile Me service upon launching, with Steve Job’s admitting that it was unleashed too early and that it was “not up to Apple’s standards.” You can check out the internal mail sent round the company from Jobs here.

Most recently, Al Shipp, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Enterprise Sales left and will not be replaced. Apple’s decision not to replace Shipp may be indicative of its move away from the enterprise space..

An analyst at Forrester did however note that –

“Apple’s singular focus on user experience has resulted in some success in the enterprise – without even trying to break into the market,”

One of the things that the Blackberry does fantastically well, where it’s untouchable (I’ve got to stop with these puns) is the whole enterprise side of things, which it’s positively making steps away from with the more consumer led Blackberry Storm in a bit to get more numbers on board the Blackberry train.

For example, according to a new report, three quarters of the police force are currently using BlackBerry devices while on patrol.

This is due to their accreditation by the Communications-Electronics Security Group (CESG). “BlackBerrys were made with security in mind and not as an afterthought.” says RIM senior manager of EMEA public sector sales Graham Baker.

So with all the above in mind, the Storm was expected to be the first major competition to the iPhone. Unfortunately, the very large majority of coverage and reviews say that it’s a great first attempt but more was expected from it.

There’s a fair few (thousand) people out there who are quite happy with the Storm..

Or how about this guy who bagged himself a free Blackberry Storm for this tattoo..

A man dubbed ‘T.J’, from Ohio, opted to have a life-size copy of the Storm tattooed on his forearm in order to win a free Storm in a contest entitled “What Would You Do for a BlackBerry Storm?”

“We just wonder what he’ll think of the tattoo once Storm’s been consigned to the great phone bin in the sky and replaced with a faster, sexier and more feature-laden model.” The Register.

If you want to win one where you don’t have to go to such measures, enter here

A round up of a few BB Storm reviews..

PCMag.comI felt like I was learning to type all over again. I had to get used to the hover-then-click strategy. This slowed me down immeasurably. The other problem with the keyboard is the way the Storm lets you know that you’re over the right key. I often couldn’t see which key was highlighted behind my own thumb. Another major problem I had is that correcting your typing mistakes is hit and miss—or worse. It will often try and suggest proper spellings or words it thinks you’re trying to type. That helped me about 50 percent of the time. The rest of the time, I was typing and retying words. Clicking on the giant button of a screen felt like an unnecessary and unnatural process. If I’m the typical target corporate enterprise customer for the Storm, RIM may have a problem.

Mobile Today – Stores and customer blogs were venting their frustration over the lack of Wi-Fi on the Storm. The decision has been universally interpreted as a means for Vodafone to force customers to go online and download music through its 3G network. Vodafone customer services said: ‘[With the Storm] we’re looking at streamlining people toward the unlimited Vodafone internet package.’ In other words, if you use Wifi then we can’t get any money out of you for using the internet.

The Register – While the Storm comes with Blackberry Internet Solution support, Enterprise integration will cost an additional 16 quid a month – once it’s working. RIM has long tried to position itself as a consumer brand as well as offering the best push email service for business users. The Storm is well equipped to reinforce this perception, but many customers are buying it on the basis that it will also integrate with their Enterprise Solution and are sadly disappointed.

Admiral H – The most exhaustive review I’ve read. – If you absolutely want the best all-in-one device on the market right now, get the iPhone 3G. It’s got the best web browsing, media (photo/music/video & YouTube) experience and their e-mail solution is solid. If you want the best BlackBerry possible, pass on both BlackBerry Bold and BlackBerry Storm and wait for the next one. Both are relatively raw as of this moment. It’s better to wait for the next revision when Research In Motion’s devoted more time into polishing their software. Don’t get me wrong, Research In Motion has done the best job so far of coming up with a true iPhone contender. But it’s no definitely iPhone killer, until they address all the mentioned issues

Gizmodo – The Storm is a strong effort from RIM, but it’s not quite the killer phone that they or Verizon need it to be. It’s good— RIM clearly put a lot of thought into the design. But I think it fall short of what they were aiming for, and ultimately what all the hype is driving people to expect. Some of this is fixable: The damn thing needs to crash less often. But SurePress is not the end-all, be-all of touchscreen technologies—it’s not really an evolutionary step forward, even. The experience may be fairly refined, but more polish is still needed. Had this Storm been left to brew a bit longer, it would’ve been much more powerful

PC World – Ultimately, the Storm’s touch interface feels like a failed experiment. It’s too bad, because the Storm has some nice features and makes a great first impression. I found the Storm awkward to use for everyday data entry tasks. I worry, too, about how well the mechanics of the click screen will hold up under the pressure of continual use by heavy typers. Where touch wasn’t a major issue, the Storm functioned well. The Storm’s camera certainly outshines the iPhone’s, not only in megapixel count, but with regard to its autofocus and flash. The GPS worked well, too. People who were hoping for a credible iPhone alternative fortified with BlackBerry’s strengths as a mobile tool for corporate travelers will likely find the Storm a disappointment. When it comes to touch interfaces, Apple still has no peer.

Engadget – Going into this review, we really wanted to love this phone. The selling points are easy: the phone is gorgeous to look at and hold, it’s designed and backed by RIM (now almost a household name thanks to their prevalence in the business and entertainment markets), and it’s packed with features that, at first glance, make it seem not only as good as the iPhone, but better. The only hitch in this plan is a major one: it’s not as easy, enjoyable, or consistent to use as the iPhone, and the one place where everyone is sure they have an upper hand, that wow-inducing clickable screen.. just isn’t all that great.

On paper it sounds like the perfect antidote to our gripes about the iPhone, and in some ways it lives up to those promises, but more often than not while using the Storm, we felt let down or frustrated. For casual users, the learning curve and complexity of this phone will feel like an instant turn off, and for power users, the lack of a decent typing option and considerable lagginess in software will give them pause. RIM tried to strike some middle ground between form and function, and unfortunately came up short on both. Ultimately, this could be a great platform with a little more time in the oven, but right now, it feels undercooked — and that’s not enough for us.

TIME – After 24 hours of actually testing the new BlackBerry side by side with its main competition — Apple’s iPhone 3G and T-Mobile’s G1 (the “Google phone”) — the novelty quickly wore off. I hate the click screen, and none of the handful of people I let try it had anything nice to say about it either. That’s a shame because the Storm has a slew of handy extras that neither the iPhone nor the G1 can match. But an annoying user interface is a deal breaker. The trouble with having to push down on the entire 3.2-inch screen every time you type a letter or confirm a menu choice is that it slows you down. The idea behind the clickable screen is that it will minimize errors by getting you to think before you press. Instead, it took much of the fun out of using the device.

If, like many Americans, you’re planning to scrimp your way through the holidays, the Storm isn’t worth busting your budget for. Even die-hard BlackBerry fans would be better off with RIM’s new Bold, Pearl or Flip. All three have many of the same pluses as the Storm, minus the drawbacks of the unusual display. This is one storm you’ll want to steer clear of this winter.

Chicago Tribune – Unfortunately, the Storm is more like a flurry, failing to add much more than a trace of innovation. If you use a BlackBerry, you quickly will grasp the basics of how to work this phone. But if you’re a smart phone newbie, the kind of person RIM wants to lure, looking for a touch-screen model, there are better choices. The Storm is sleek and offers nice multimedia functions; videos look great. But navigating the phone can be cumbersome.

Let’s get right to the point: The touch controls on the Storm do not compare with the more responsive iPhone or Google phone. RIM should have included a trackball with the touch controls, like HTC did with T-Mobile’s Google phone. An example: When you want to reply to an e-mail, you hit the menu key to bring up the familiar list of messaging options. The “reply” button is between “save” and “forward,” both of which I frequently hit instead, leading to frustrating back-tracking. A trackball would have alleviated this problem. If you’re looking for a new BlackBerry, my choice would be the Bold.

So if you made it this far, there’s the take of quite a few very well respected blogs. What’s your take on the Blackberry Storm? Do you use one and love it? Interested to hear what you think, I know there’s a lot of Blackberry love out there !

Google Maps..

I was in Shoreditch earlier on today and was a bit lost to say the least.

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I knew I wasn’t far away from where I wanted to be but was confronted with side roads wherever I turned.. this wasn’t going to be a happy ending, put a map in front of me and I turn in to Casper the not so friendly ghost.

For a while I walked around just taking in the sights and surroundings because I had a bit of time on my hands but that got a little tiring pretty quickly..

I found a friendly bus conductor who was stopped at the side having a smoke so I asked him where it was I was looking for.. he sent me in the completely wrong direction so after a while walking I stopped a lovely geeky chap who I thought would find me the way to my mecca.. and that he did.. hey I like to adhere to the geeky stereotype every now and then too you know.. He said he wasn’t entirely sure where it was but time was running out for me.. then he had a cunning plan and came to my rescue through the wonders of Google. Whoever said they were getting all evil!

He whipped out his iPhone and started up the Maps application. Genius I thought, why didn’t I think of that.. In the times I’ve used Google Maps in Milton Keynes it was really unreliable and you couldn’t trust the output so I didn’t tend to use it so much.. right there on the street we were having a bit of iPhone loving and sharing tips on cool apps, iPhone formatted sites etc.. I turned location services on on my iPhone (normally off to conserve batter) and pressed the button in the bottom left hand corner which magically located where I was with a nice flashing blue dot.. I whacked in the post code where I was heading for and it plotted me a line how to get there and directions!

Whereas I’ve had limited success with Google Maps previously, it absolutely was a lifesaver and took me exactly to where I wanted to be along with providing directions. I even had time to scope out where it was and then head back down the road to get a sandwich.. Perfect. It was quite a spectacle as your location updates itself on the map so you can see if you’re taking a wrong turn (which I did a few times just to try it out.. honest guv!) I was pretty impressed all in all.