For some strange reason than I cannot even begin to comprehend, AT&T decided to release the BlackBerry Bold on today of all days.  There is that little presidential election taking that is expected to have well over 130 million people casting ballots, so, good luck AT&T on capturing any news cycles beyond gadget blogs…  Brilliant marketing move…

Even though the BlackBerry Bold was just released today, it really isn’t the new BlackBerry everyone is talking about.   The BlackBerry Storm is the device that really has people excited and rumor has it that it will be out in the next couple of weeks or so.  Don’t get me wrong,  the BlackBerry Bold will do extremely well on AT&T, but, I think that missed marketing opportunity and price will keep it from having BlackBerry Pearl / BlackBerry Curve type appeal.

That being said, I believe that if Verizon is smart about things, the BlackBerry Storm will cost less than the BlackBerry Bold.  Waaaay Less…  And if it does it will absolutely sell like mad.

Let’s face it, every BlackBerry going forward, especially those on AT&T, will be compared to the iPhone.  Whether they should or should not be is debatable, however, the simple truth is that they will be and RIM and the carriers that sell BlackBerry devices need to be intimately aware of this.

The BlackBerry Bold costs you $399 up front.  You could walk out of the store with two iPhones for this price.  It will be hard for consumers to shell out that kind of cash for a BlackBerry when the iPhone is sitting right next to it, and, because of Apples marketing machine, seems way cooler than, than any BlackBerry ever has.

This is where Verizon being smart and playing their cards right presents a huge opportunity with the BlackBerry Storm.

Verizon should set the price of the BlackBerry Storm at about $199. They could probably get away with $299 with a $100 mail-in rebate, however, keeping out of pocket costs below 200 bucks in the store would have people lining up to get BlackBerry Storms during the holiday season.

As cool as the iPhone is, most reviews I’ve read that compare the iPhone to the BlackBerry Storm say that the Storms touch screen wins hands down.  Tie that to the Verizon’s strength and and speed of network and you get a device that competes for the iPhone consumer that doesn’t want to switch to AT&T.

The thing is with Verizon subscribing BlackBerry users is, once you get them, you rarely lose them.  Verizon should keep the thought of years and years of loyal, high monthly plan paying, BlackBerry users in mind when they determine how much they should subsidize the BlackBerry Storm for.