Don't Dismiss the BlackBerry Storm, or Rick Ankiel

The touch screen BlackBerry may not be a superstar, but it says a lot about RIM

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Much has been written about the BlackBerry Storm. But only Om Malik at the Gigaom blog invoked my St. Louis Cardinals in referring to the Storm's prospects. And so I rise in protest, to his characterization of centerfielder Rick Ankiel and to his dismissal of the Storm.

Ankiel was a phenom pitcher who, as Malik writes, "flamed out." Ankiel later...

...got hurt and came back as an outfielder and a hitter. He scored a lot of runs last season, but he isn’t a center fielder like Mickey Mantle. He is just another player.

Then:

Storm will be that — just another touch-screen smartphone.

I'm not sure how well Om knows baseball. But Ankiel's is an amazing story: that he had the talent and commitment to recast himself from pitcher to everyday player. He has shown the potential to be a star if not a Mantle-level superstar.

The Storm is no Mantle. I'm disappointed that Research in Motion didn't develop a ground-breaking, touch-screen keyboard.

That may come with time as RIM is displaying a new willingness to experiment. That's the story here -- that RIM has the talent and grit to produce a good phone wholly unlike its others. Its first touch screen doesn't have to carry the BlackBerry team, which already has its superstars.

But, judging from lines outside Verizon stores this morning, the Storm may at least be a star.