A furious Storm

As I sit here playing with my brand spanking new BlackBerry Storm, I’m initially impressed.

Despite the negative reviews coming out of the US, I quite like this device. Sure, there are plenty of issues and it’s far from perfect, but there is a certain aura around BlackBerrys that means you can’t help but feel impressed.

One of the issues with this handset is its lack of Wi-Fi — these days, a relatively standard feature, especially on smartphones claiming to do everything except butter your toast in the morning.

RIM will tell you the lack of Wi-Fi is fine, as the Storm operates on a high-speed 3G network and thus you’ll always be connected. That excuse may be valid if your network coverage is excellent, but they seem to have forgotten, or rather, not even cared, that this isn’t the case in Australia.

Unfortunately, the Storm is exclusively sold through Vodafone for its entire shelf life in Australia. It was part of the deal that RIM struck in the US with Verizon Wireless. Vodafone owns 45 per cent of Verizon.

What a catastrophe that in late 2008, I can barely get 3G reception at my house on the Vodafone network. So much for being connected.

This isn’t an attack on Vodafone — rather, it is just one of many examples of the poor standards of mobile Internet and broadband in this country.

After all, we’re the only country in the world that still has download “limits” on its broadband Internet plans.

And our leading telco recently suggested charging $39.95 a month for 200MB of data at speeds of 1Mbps — all on the new “high-speed” national broadband network.

Using the Storm, or any other mobile device for that matter, on a GPRS connection, is akin to using dial-up Internet in the age of broadband.

It is lunacy.