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The BlackBerry Storm has been launched in the UK, with industry watchers predicting that the feature-rich device is the latest challenge to the supremacy of the iPhone.

Available exclusively through Vodafone and developed in conjunction with RIM, the Storm employs a touchscreen operated user interface and houses a 3.25-inch, 480-by-360-pixel display – the largest ever on a BlackBerry.

The handset is also equipped with a full Qwerty virtual keyboard, which is viewable in its entirety when the phone is turned on its side as well as 3G connectivity for fast web browsing, a 3.2 megapixel camera, media player and GPS to provide you with turn by turn directions to your location.

A Vodafone customer services spokesman has described the public’s response to the Storm, which was delayed by a week, as “phenomenal” with tens of thousands believed to have been sold in its first weekend of availability.

The BlackBerry Storm is available on a two-year contract for £35 per month. Ben Wood, of CCS Insight, told the Times that the new handset is the most credible challenger yet to Apple’s multi-million selling smartphone.

He said: “We’ve seen lots of 'me too' attempts since the iPhone came along, but nothing has lived up to expectations. I thought the first credible contender would come from Helsinki, home of Nokia, or maybe Seoul, but not Waterloo, Canada.

\begin{table}[h] \begin{tabular}{ll} MVNO & Which network is it based on? \ Age UK My Phone & Vodafone \ Airwave Smart Mobile & EE \ Asda Mobile & EE \ Axis Telecom & EE \ BT Mobile & EE \ CT ExcelBiz & EE \ Delight Mobile & EE \ Dialog Viz & Vodafone \ Digital Phone & EE \ Econet Mobile & EE \ Family Mobile & EE \ Go Mobile & EE \ Giffgaff & O2 \ GT Mobile & O2 \ Lebara Mobile & Vodafone \ LIFE Mobile & EE \ Lomo Mobile & EE \ Lyca Mobile & O2 \ Matrix Cellular & EE \ Natterbox & EE \ Now Payg & EE \ Mobile by Sainsbury's & Vodafone \ Simple Call Mobile & EE \ Shebang & Three \ Talk Home Mobile & EE \ Talkmobile & Vodafone \ TalkTalk Mobile & Vodafone \ Tesco Mobile & O2 \ The People's Operator & EE \ The Phone Co-Op & EE \ Truphone & Vodafone \ Telecom Plus & EE \ Vectone Mobile & EE \ Virgin Mobile & EE \ WWF Wildlife Mobile &
\end{tabular} \end{table}

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