Research In Motion (RIM) and Vodafone today introduced the BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone.

RIM claims that the second generation of its touch-screen smartphone "evolves the BlackBerry touch-screen platform with hundreds of hardware and software enhancements".

How does the Storm2 differ from the first-generation BlackBerry Storm in physical appearance? Take a look at these first pictures of the Storm2 to see for yourself.

BlackBerry Storm2 key layout

BlackBerry Storm2 top layout

BlackBerry Storm2 back

The BlackBerry Storm2 introduces a new SurePress technology based on an electronic system that provides the user with tactile feedback when the touch-screen is pressed. The new system responds equally to gentle pressure applied anywhere on the surface of the screen and makes clicking the display practically effortless.

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Typing on the smartphone's virtual keyboards is easier, more comfortable and more accurate, claims RIM. The new SurePress technology also allows the user to type a letter with one thumb while their other thumb may still be touching or resting on another letter, enabling faster typing and multi-key actions such as Shift or Alt -key combinations.

BlackBerry Storm2 side 1

The Storm2 features global connectivity support: UMTS/HSPA (2100Mhz), quad-band EDGE/GPRS/GSM and Wi-Fi® (802.11 b/g) networks.

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It has a 3.2-magapixel camera like Apple iPhone 3GS but with superior variable zoom, autofocus, flash and video recording.

It has 256MB of Flash memory and 2GB of onboard memory storage and a microSD/SDHD memory card slot that supports up to 32GB cards when available.

BlackBerry Storm2 side 2

Vodafone's music client is pre-installed, giving access to an extensive catalogue of artists. RIM admits that "certain music files may not be supported, including files that contain digital rights management technologies", referring to smartphone rival Apple's iTunes Music Store.

Its rechargeable 1400mAhr battery provides approximately six hours of talk time on 3G networks and 280 hours of standby time.

Vodafone UK will be offering the BlackBerry Storm2 free from £35 per month on a 24-month contract that includes 600 minutes talk-time, unlimited BlackBerry Internet Service, unlimited text messaging, as well as unlimited access to VMI (Vodafone Mobile Internet) and broadband.

BlackBerry Storm2 specifications

Size (L x W x D): 112.5mm x 62mm x 13.9mm

Weight (battery included): 160g

Memory: 256MB Flash memory, 2GB eMMC

Expandable Memory: MicroSD located under battery door cover (up to 16GB, 32GB when available)

Battery: 1400mAhr removable/rechargeable cryptographic Lithium cell

Battery Life: GSM: 12.7 days standby, 5 hours talk time; UMTS: 11.7 days standby, 6 hours talk time

User Interface: Touch Screen Navigation with SurePress touch screen for user selection

Navigation Display: High-resolution 480-x-360-pixel colour display 3.25-inch (diagonally measured) Transmissive TFT LCD supports over 65,000 colours; Dynamic hardware brightness control

Camera: 3.2MP camera, flash, auto focus, image stabilisation, 2X digital zoom

Keyboard: On screen keyboard - portrait SureType, QWERTY, and multi-tap, landscape QWERTY, portrait QWERTY

Voice Input/Output: Integrated speaker and microphone, hands-free headset capable, Bluetooth headset capable, integrated hands-free speakerphone rated for hearing aids: M3

Ringtones: 32 polyphonic - MIDI, MP3

GPS: Integrated GPS with A-GPS

Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g enabled

Media Player: BlackBerry Media Player Video format support: MPEG4 H.263, MPEG4 Part 2 Simple Profile, H.264, WMV Audio format support: MP3, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA, WMA ProPlus

Bluetooth: Bluetooth v2.1+EDR 1) Mono/stereo headset 2 ) Hands-free (HSF) 3) Phone book access profile (PBAP) 4) Serial port profile 5) Bluetooth stereo audio (A2DP/AVCRP) 6) Dial UP networking (DUN)

Headset: 3.5mm stereo headset capable

Ports: Micro USB port allows charging and data synchronisation of the device with a USB "A" to Micro-USB "B" cable

Power Adaptor: +5V DC/500 mA AC power adapter, with interchangeable location-specific plugs

Network: Quad-Band: 850/900/1800/1900MHz GSM/GPRS/ EDGE networks Single-Band: 2100 MHz UMTS/HSPA networks Dual-Band: 800/1900 MHz CDMA/EVDO Rev A networks