BlackBerry Storm 2: the official unofficial hands-on

We've been bumping into the new BlackBerry Storm 2 for quite a while now on the so-called "information superhighway," but we've finally had a chance to escalate those encounters and spend a few sweet moments with a live unit in the flesh. First off, let's confirm the huge news: RIM's abandoned the original Storm's SurePress click-screen and gone with a traditional fixed capacitive display for the sequel. It's over, guys. Unfortunately, the Verizon-branded dual-mode GSM / CDMA unit that we played with has a bug preventing us from getting past the license screen, so we couldn't dive deep into the OS, but we can tell you what we do know: the Storm 2's sleeker style and more heft combined with the newly-stable screen collaborate to make everything feel a wee bit higher end than the original. Follow the break for more impressions!

Update: On the advice of our legal team, we've had to pull the images and videos originally seen in this post. Sorry, everyone!

The display is a capacitive number, and it's definitely not SurePress, at least in the traditional sense; there's nary a click to be found. In fact, it behaves rather like the iPhone's screen as far as scrolling and even texture of the surface is concerned. We can't speak to the tech inside, but it does pack a 3.2 megapixel camera with auto focus, a 3.5 mm headset jack, typical USB charger, and run of the mill soft keys on the sides of the handset. Across the bottom, the Storm's keys have been replaced with four softkeys on the display proper for call, end, back, and a BlackBerry key. The top has both the power and mute keys with the entire thing wrapped lovingly in plastics with some metal trim on the edges and a metal battery cover.

We'd heard buzz of haptic support -- and while it is possible it is somewhere in there, we can't get at it, so we'll leave that one up in the air for now. We'll leave the device with the heroes and hope we get another chance with it if they can get into the OS for a tour. Meanwhile, follow on for the gallery and a quick video showing off some Verizon branding right after the break. Of course, if you have any questions, drop them in the post and we'll do our level best to get you an answer -- or at least try to lie in a convincing fashion.