Meet BlackBerry Storm2 Product Manager Yasser Mirza

Product

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Touch screen BlackBerry® smartphone fans will soon have a new family member to welcome with the announcement of the BlackBerry® Storm2™ smartphone. While there are great resources on BlackBerry.com to learn more about the new BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone, I thought you would be interested to get some information straight from the source: Yasser Mirza, Product Manager for the BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone.

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m a CDMA Handhelds Product Manager, which means it’s my job to work with the various engineering, marketing, and business groups to help identify, plan and bring to market new BlackBerry smartphone solutions for the CDMA network standard.

When you were first named Product Manager for the BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone, what went through your mind?

I was definitely a little nervous given the magnitude of the project, but also very excited and pumped to hit the ground running managing the development of such a key product. My ambition was to deliver the best possible touch screen phone experience. As a group, we wanted to be sure the BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone was seen as a significant evolution of the BlackBerry touch screen platform.

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What was your vision for the BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone? What were some of the key product features you focused on during development?

Deliver the best touch- screen BlackBerry smartphone experience! Seriously though, there were three product features we focused on the most:

  • Typing – Providing an easy and enjoyable typing experience is a key pillar of the BlackBerry smartphone experience, so we wanted to make sure we met those expectations.
  • User experience – we wanted to make sure the user experience would be fast and responsive out of the gate. There are hundreds of enhancements in this product – both hardware and software – that have really come together in the BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone to provide the BlackBerry experience that people expect.
  • “Eye-candy” factor – a consumer focused touch- screen smartphone needs to ‘press the right buttons’ with customers, if you know what I mean. :D We wanted to keep the existing industrial design but give it a sleeker look with cleaner lines.   

What was the biggest challenge you faced while developing the BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone? How did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge was ensuring the enhanced SurePress™ technology worked and worked well.  It’s the SurePress technology that makes the BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone touch screen ‘clickable’ and unique in the market for touch screen smartphones. There were two primary issues of focus for us:

  1. Getting the touch screen click to feel ‘just right’.
  2. Integrating the navigation keys as part of the screen to function with the new SurePress technology. This provided a host of new challenges!

How did we overcome these issues? Iterate. Test. Repeat. :D

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What part of being Product Manager for the BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone are you most proud of?

I think I’m most proud of pushing the engineering teams to the limit to create an amazing typing experience for the end user with the enhanced SurePress technology. We didn’t settle. Many times we would try the latest version built to specification and it still didn’t feel ‘right'; so back to the drawing board. As I said: iterate, test, and repeat! I have to give credit to our engineering teams – they’ve really hit a home run with this!

How fast can you type on the BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone? Ever timed yourself?

I can actually type faster than a QWERTY keypad BlackBerry smartphone. No joke! I’ve clocked in typing “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” at 10 seconds, which is 60wpm.

(Ed. Note: Research In Motion (RIM) employees often engage in typing speed trials – it’s kind of our thing. While not every BlackBerry smartphone user will be able to match Yasser’s speed – he made the smartphone! – post your best time below and show everyone how fast can you type on your BlackBerry smartphone.)

Lightning round question: Are you a touch screen or QWERTY keypad BlackBerry smartphone user? Has it always been this way? Be honest.

I was a QWERTY keypad BlackBerry smartphone user and heavy texter so I didn’t use the BlackBerry Storm smartphone much, but I can honestly say that I love typing on the BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone. The new BlackBerry® Device Software 5.0 features provided on the smartphone, such as auto correct, roll over typing, and optimized click pressure all help make the typing experience feel natural. The BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone is now my primary work device and provides me a large screen with multimedia features for play.

Will you accept my challenge to a type-off? I bet I can beat your time.

You’re on.

Learn more about the new BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone.

About Douglas Soltys

Word Czar. Web 7.0 (in beta). Blogs and tweets and wonders.

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