By: B.J. Fleming

After an almost universally reviled first edition, the Blackberry Storm is back and much improved. But is it enough to tip it over into the “buy” category from the “avoid at all costs” category?

Additions to the new Blackberry include a more-than-adequate wifi which was, for some ridiculous reason unaddressed by Blackberry, absent in the first generation. The wifi works well, but really, it’s just nice to have at all.

They also revamped the somewhat unresponsive touchscreen technology from the first generation Storm. The new SurePress technology retains the tactile response (the little vibration you feel in the screen to make it feel like you’re actually hitting a button), but is more precise and smoother due to the addition of more sensors in-screen. It also supports multitouch which allows users to hold down a shift key to capitalize letters or drag selections of text with cut/copy/paste functionality.

Inside, the Storm 2 has double the memory that original Storm had and has “enhanced” functions” to the internals which, in theory, should make the phone run much faster than its predecessor. It runs the Blackberry OS 5.0 which promises faster Java rendering and CSS processing. The Storm 2 is also part of the Adobe Open Screen Project who’s goal is to bring the Flash Player to mobile devices, but as yet, it is not functioning.

The remainder of the features are much the same as the Storm 1 with some minor cosmetic changes for brand identification. But the important part is that Blackberry listened to user input from the Storm 1, and took it seriously. Many of the bugs and performance issues from the first iteration have been ironed out, or at least ironed down to a less-noticeable wrinkle making this, the Blackberry Storm 2 (gripe the first: boring name), a much more desirable phone. But a much more desirable version of a piece of crap is still not outstanding. However, if you’re a fan of the Storm, or want to be on Verizon’s network (prohibiting an iPhone), you can’t do much better than the Storm 2. It ships in November and will probably cost around $200, and you can preorder it here.