Vodafone has announced that it has won the exclusive rights to offer Research In Motion's new BlackBerry Storm in the UK, Europe and the US.

The new smartphone, which will take on Apple's iPhone and T-Mobile's G1 in the smartphone battle this Christmas, is described as the first ever 'clickable' touchscreen handset, with its 3.25in display designed to allow users to feel the sensation of actually pressing down on virtual keys.

The clickable screen makes it quick and easy to type texts and emails as well as navigate through the phone's functions, according to Vodafone and RIM.

"With its unique clickable touchscreen, giving access to all the desirable multimedia features and services such as browsing, music and video, turn by turn satellite navigation, messaging and social networking, and BlackBerry's mobile heritage and strong business reputation, the BlackBerry Storm is being brought by Vodafone into the consumer world."

BlackBerry Storm

Vodafone said that by using a touchscreen instead of a traditional physical keyboard, more space has been dedicated to the high resolution colour screen, which offers 480 x 360 resolution and switches from portrait mode to landscape mode as the handset is rotated.

Other features include 1GB of on board memory storage; a microSD/SDHD memory card slot that supports up to 16GB of additional storage; a 3.5mm stereo headset jack; support for Bluetooth stereo audio profile (A2DP/AVRCP); an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts backlighting for ideal screen viewing; and a removable and rechargeable 1400 mAhr battery that provides approximately 6 hours of talk time on 3G networks and 15 days of standby time.

The BlackBerry Storm will be available from next month through Vodafone stores as well as independent outlets and online. Full pricing details will be available in the coming weeks.

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