Verizon’s 18.104.22.168 OS for the BlackBerry Storm is only just out, and already the sequel has made an appearance. Version 22.214.171.124 may only be a single point update on the current official release, but according to the BGR it makes a whole lot of difference. Screen rotation smoothness and battery life both get a much-needed boost, and the whole smartphone sounds much more responsive.
In fact, after a full day of use the Storm still has 50-percent of its power left, a big improvement on the standard firmware. There are also less obvious, but no less useful, tweaks, such as the font size automatically growing when you switch from portrait to landscape in the browser. It’s not all good news, though; overall data connectivity has become a little more sluggish, and the camera app has taken a turn for the worse.
Unfortunately there’s currently no way to get your hands on 126.96.36.199; nobody knows if it’s going to be an official release (the thinking is yes, but without confirmation we can’t say for sure) and BGR aren’t offering up their leaked copy. Hopefully before it hits handsets Verizon and RIM will have a chance to work on those few bugs identified.
For starters, switching portrait to landscape is even faster than on .75. We’re talking half a second to make a clean switch. No more “double keyboards” (half SureType, half QWERTY) on the screen. After around a full day of use, our battery is sitting pretty at 50%. This is probably a 25% increase over .65. We can’t say how much better it is than .75 since that wouldn’t be fair seeing as how it wasn’t in use for long, but we believe there will still be an improvement. There was this annoyance where you’d go to tap on an icon, it wouldn’t select if you tried to tap it fast. That’s all cleared up here… This was in .75, but DTMF tones in the phone application no longer lag and cause you to hit the wrong prompts, etc. The issue where the keyboard sometimes disappears when you are typing is still there. In the browser, if you tapped once in the .65 build, the bottom navigational toolbar would hide and so would the top status bar. In .75, only the bottom bar would hide but the top bar would stay. Here in .76, both hide again. In the browser, when you flip to landscape, the text size is increased tremendously. It scales up to fit the width of the page. Very helpful. There has not been one reboot so far. In .65 there were probably two a day There’s a weird bug where sometimes the back button doesn’t actually work. Can’t figure out what causes this to happen. Oh well. When navigating through the music player, playing MP3s is probably 50% better than .65 and 20% better than .75. Very, very quick. When navigating through photos, thumbnails appear almost instantly. Even on the Bold it sometimes took a while to load, and it loaded them one-by-one. Here they basically just pop-up after a second or two. Overall data connectivity feels a little slower in our non-scientific tests. Web pages take a little longer to load and we get the infamous BlackBerry clock when sending messages and Messenger nonsense. The camera application has way more problems than it started out with. For instance, the green autofocus rectangle no longer appears, the bottom navigational buttons flicker on and off, and it’s just all around chaos. The camera app in .75 was a little better than .65 so don’t get too worried, we’re sure this will be cleared up.