Early impressions of BlackBerry Storm OS 5.0.0.328

Early impressions of BlackBerry Storm OS 5.0.0.328
On the eve of the launch of the BlackBerry Storm2 9550, Verizon and RIM gave out a consolation prize to owners of the original Storm 9530 in the form of an upgraded OS. The build, 5.0.0.328, is supposed to include all of the software changes in the Storm2. Of course, the latter model will include Wi-Fi, some bigger memory chips and a softer design. We loaded up the new OS on a 9530 and let's get to the subject at hand. The new OS brings flick scrolling to the Storm and it is not impressive. On the browser, the scrolling is very limited. The page travels a very small amount up or down and is nothing like the flick scrolling you see on other high end smartphones. The menu is the only place on the phone where flick scrolling works like it should. Threaded texting is another addition to the Storm. This is a part of the upgrade that delivers on what was promised. Emoticons can also be added to the conversation. The BlackBerry App World shows great improvement after the upgrade. It is faster to browse through apps and the process of downloading an application onto the Storm is much smoother. Speaking of smoother, the screen is more responsive. The accelerometer works like it should and even the SurePress typing system seemed to work better. In Landscape mode, RIM has added auto-correction which gives you the ability to choose from a number of words that could be the one that you are in the middle of typing. This is aimed at speeding up the typing on the virtual QWERTY.  A "Today" screen, similar to what you see on a Windows Mobile home page, has been added as an option. It gives you the time and date, headings from your last two messages, phone calls and calendar appointments. Battery life seemed to be better and a new rolling drum made setting the alarm clock much, much easier. BlackBerry Messenger 5.0 is a major improvement, especially with the ability to use bar code to add a new contact. Problems with the camera seem to be resolved, and the constant freezing of the screen has lessened although it is still there. Some new animation made transitions between apps seem faster

There were a few problems. Many Storm users were upset that the new upgrade removed Google's YouTube client from the Storm. Right now, it cannot be reinstalled although we were told by a Verizon rep that the YouTube app will eventually be re-launched. In the meantime, the mobile version of YouTube works although resolution on the handset's video player is far from satisfactory. The browser now enables JavaScript as a default position, but that doesn't mean that JavaScript runs smoothly on the Storm. There still is a delay when using it and on some sites you would be better off disabling it.  The screen still has a propensity to freeze, but the new OS cuts the reboot time from 5 minutes to 2 minutes, so that is somewhat of a "push".

OS 5.0.0.328 is a major step forward for the Storm. Yet, we could not stop getting the feeling that something was still not right. On its' own, without comparing the handset to a competitive model, the upgraded Storm 9530 looked every bit the exciting touchscreen device that BlackBerry fans were expecting when it was launched last year. But when you put the phone side by side with  the iPhone, the Palm Pre or even the HTC Touch Pro2, it falls short mostly in the multimedia department. Still, assuming that RIM continues to upgrade the phone, the Storm has taken a big step in the right direction with the new OS and is now a handset that 'Berry users can embrace

RIM BlackBerry Storm2 9550 Specifications | Preview

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