15 hottest products of 2008: Blackberry Storm, Bold


Swimming in the wake of the Apple iPhone is Blackberry, with its army of addicted executives eager for the sexy features of touchscreen technology but unwilling to give up the workhorse dependability of RIM's network. This year it unveiled two new phones, the Bold and the Storm, that purport to respond to that thirst.

The Bold is a baby step in the iPhone's direction, with a new OS that handles music, video, and internet access much faster via 3G technology. The phone has a small screen and Blackberry's typical scrunched QWERTY keyboard, but can run applications such as AOL's IM service and a mobile version of Facebook.

Ironically, the really bold step is the Blackberry Storm, which offers a larger screen by ditching the keyboard in favor of a touchscreen version. Backed by a $100 million ad campaign, RIM pushed this model out in time for what looks to be the worst Christmas shopping season in recent memory. Ouch!

Both phones feature very crisp, vibrant screens and easy integration with most PC calenders and phone books. Both have built-in cameras with flash, are Bluetooth equipped, and handle a variety of audio and video entertainment formats. Like other Blackberry products, battery life is excellent.