I have to say, Verizon made my day/weekend with their official BlackBerry Storm 9530 OS 126.96.36.1998 update. While I am not using the latest OS build on a Verizon 9530 (actually TELUS), installing it on any 9530 is very easy.
If you’re a Verizon customer, you can simply grab the update from Verizon and install it like you would any OS. If you’re on another carrier, you have to remember to delete the vendor.xml file, allowing you to use the OS update for your carrier. You will find the XML file at:
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Research In Motion\AppLoader
The first thing you will notice about this update is that the transitions between portrait and landscape have been improved. While the transition is still not perfect, it is definitely better. I personally really enjoy the use of scaled transitions between screens. It’s a subtle difference yet it makes everything easier on the eyes.
There are a host of cosmetic changes in OS 5. For example, lightly tapping an icon gives it a fading blue light, a small enhancement to the previous highlighting technique. Also, leaving your finger over a message subject or name, will now produce a light blue loading bar that will search for the respective field. Before, it was more of a sparkle wipe. Again, these are all very minor, but still something a BlackBerry enthusiast would notice.
There are also a few improvements in the way you make phone calls. You can now call someone much more easily from the SMS screen. Simply press the menu button and the call feature appears. You can also press the “call” button and a message screen pops up asking whether you would like to call the contact. The only thing RIM hasn’t implemented here is the ability to press the call button while not inside the message body. Pressing the call button in the SMS folder brings you to the dial screen. Much like pressing it on the homescreen.
While the load time for the device doesn’t seem to have improved, the loading bar has. Before, the loading bar seemed to jump, whereas now it seems much more gradual.
Storm users will particularly like that the camera is now blazing fast. There is almost zero delay when taking a picture. From the time you press the camera icon, to the time the picture is saved to your media card, is a matter of maybe 1.5 seconds. Before, it seemed this process would take around 3 seconds.
This isn’t the first time we have seen OS 5, as we have seen it on the Storm2 prerelease device we had in-house. There have also been a great number of OS 5 leaks circulating which give you a preview of what it will look like. In the end, it’s best to wait for the official release as it means all your third party apps will work smoothly, and you can be more certain it won’t brick your device.
The above impressions are more geared towards the 9530, but all BlackBerry devices running OS 5 will see improvements. You can expect the following to be rolled out on all BlackBerry devices before 2010:
- Threaded SMS.
- When sending pics, you can resize individual photos to 1024×768, 800×600 or 640×480 is given.
- Flag emails for follow up. You can even change the properties of your flag, with the ability to define colors and the priority.
- Calendar can now accept conference call information, allowing you to dial straight in.
- RIM has updated the Maps application to render around two times as fast as they did in the past. In addition to this, scrolling around and zooming in should no longer result in lagging.