After nearly 6 months of waiting, Verizon Wireless finally released a firmware upgrade for the BlackBerry Storm on Sunday. Was it worth the wait? The answer is a strong affirmative. After upgrading a Storm 9530 from .75 to .148 using the OTA update sent to our device by Verizon, the first thing that we noticed is the much quicker responsiveness of the main menu, especially when scrolling. While the accelerometer still lags a little, it is a major improvement over the orientation changes prior to upgrading. A major fix was made to the camera. Now, when the shutter is snapped, instead of seeing a white screen, you see the actual finished photograph on the display almost instantly. This is something that is going to please Storm users greatly as the white screen would lead to a delay from the time the picture was taken to the time that the display would show the snapshot. Browser speed was slightly improved, but was nothing to write home about. The key improvement here was to make the browser much more stable. Before the upgrade, certain sites would load, and then re-load by themselves a few times before stopping. So far, this has not been an issue. Pictures and text on web sites appear clearer. The QWERTY keyboard in the portrait mode looks cramped, but typing onit produced very few mistakes and the overall experience beats usingthe SureType method. The updated copy and paste functions madehighlighting text to duplicate, a much easier and precision process.
Even minor changes appeared to be useful. The green "Go" button in Browser mode will help newbies figure out how to get to a web site. We haven't had the opportunity to check out any changes in battery life, but the issues the phone had with the back light automatically going to the "high" setting seems to be gone, which alone should lengthen the time between charging the handset.
So is the BlackBerry Storm a new phone like we heard it would be after the upgrade? It certainly is a much better device and it seems that Verizon was able to get rid of the little bugs that made the device hard to use. Those who had trouble with the menu screen will be very happy. In fact, all Storm 9530 users should be happy after downloading the new OS. And while we wouldn't call it a new phone, we think that it is a strong enough release that we can say that this is much closer to the phone that the early adapters thought they were buying last November.