Saturday, December 6, 2008

Blackberry Storm update 1.1

On Friday 12/5, RIM and Verizon released software version for the Blackberry Storm. I consider this release 1.1 (maybe closer to 1.0 with the unit shipping with a late beta). Already, I can tell you this:

  • The screen rotation is MUCH faster. It doesn't get locked into portrait or landscape like it did before.
  • Clicking on links in the browser is MUCH more accurate. Before when I would try to click, about 50% of the time it zoomed in (which is normally done when you double tap the screen)
  • The GPS registered 5 satellites sitting INSIDE my house much faster than before. Next week I'll try it out on the train which it seems to give the unit more trouble. The train windows must be thicker than the house.
  • The upgrade was faster than I expected. I had upgraded the software on my 7130e once, and it took hours. This took about 45 minutes start to finish, maybe an hour if you count the time it took for me to download the update to my PC. (It's 102MB download.)
  • Rumor is that battery life is better after the update. I'll come back and update this post in a few days. Before the update, commuting an hour each way on the train, using the browser and media functions, plus use during the day, would result in about 2 bars left on the battery. Pretty poor performance compared to the iPhone (however, the battery is replaceable on the Storm). Hopefully this update will improve that.

A few notes. I had to log onto the Verizon website and actually download the update. Some people that only use BIS (blackberry internet service) are able to get this over the air. For those that don't know, you can go into Options -> Advanced Options -> Wireless Update and select check for updates.

My berry was originally BIS, but when we were bought out by another company, I had them activate me on their BES server. So I have both BIS checking emails, and Enterprise access to my work email, calendar, etc. I had to wait for them to post a download file, and use the Blackberry desktop software to perform the update. It took about an hour after the update completed to finish the enterprise activation.

I will also note that not ALL application settings are saved and restored. My favorite RSS reader Viigo didn't save my account login info. The update DID preserve all of my 3rd party apps though, so that saved me hours of time.

Because of my enterprise activation, and the combination of service books and calendars, it seems that I now have duplicates of many meetings. In the past, this has either cleared up, or I sync and delete the duplicates. This same problem occurred on my 7130e last year.

And finally they haven't fixed the shutter lag on the camera...

One last note. In a week, other berry users have played with the device, and a number of iPhone users have too. The iPhone users like to point out that the interface is much like the old blackberries, rather than migrating everything to the touchscreen. For those of us upgrading from a blackberry, this is a huge benefit actually. The familiarity with the interface is a benefit, plus the addition of a full screen keyboard makes it a winner. I expect to see more improvements though that add touchscreen shortcuts for menu items. The bb Storm has by my count, 11 buttons (4 bottom, two configurable side buttons, lock, mute, vol up, vol down, and the screen press). That gives developers an awful lot to work with.

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