Research In Motion’s new touchscreen BlackBerry Storm — the phone it’s counting on to fend off Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone this Christmas — is still in short supply: Verizon Wireless again says new orders will ship “by 12/15,” about a week later than it promised orders would ship last week.
Both companies have kept very quiet about the reason for the delay. Short supply is one theory. But rumours still persist that buggy software — one of the reasons the Times‘ David Pogue thrashed the gadget last week — is responsible for the delays. One reader sent us the following unconfirmed tip:
I know for a fact that VZW has 123,000+ Storms in their warehouse right at this very moment. I saw it on the computer screen with my own eyes in the VZW system. I was told none of them are shipping anywhere until they are flashed with new code. No matter how much RIM and VZW deny it, there is new software on the horizon.
Neither Verizon (VZ) nor RIM (RIMM) reps replied to our request for comment on that report.
But there’s new evidence that RIM is working on a Storm update: Mobile blog Boy Genius Report has gotten ahold of a leaked version of new Storm software. Among its improvements: Faster switching between screens when you tilt the phone, better battery life, improvements to the Web browser, and faster browsing through music and photos.
Is this what’s holding up the Storm? We don’t know. But whatever it is, Verizon and RIM need to figure it out quickly. The Storm’s bugs are one problem. Shipment delays are another. And neither is good news as they go up this month against the iPhone.