A week of Nokia firmware updates

January 14th, 2010 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Nokia N900

Just like buses, you wait for ages and then two come along together…

It’s been a bit of a week for firmware updates, and many recent devices have seen updates this week.  The Nokia E72 has now got the v22 firmware, The Nokia N86 gets v21, and the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic gets v40.  Each of these offers improvements for the device, and are worthy of investigation if you own these devices.  Of course, the operator-specific branded firmwares will take a little longer to be released.

For example, the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic changelog includes:

  • Additional Kinetic Scrolling
  • Changed UI in the homescreen similar to the 5530XM
  • Updated Nokia Messaging
  • OVI Contacts pre-installed
  • New screen alarm when locked
  • Keyboard updated: when in vertical mode it’s alpha-numeric, if you turn your phone to landscape mode, it automatically changes to full qwerty
  • Keyboard updated: when you press a “key” the key that appears on top is now bigger
  • Software updater is now updated and has some more options
  • When phone key lock is on and you receive a call you see a slide to unlock and a slide to answer bar

However, the Maemo based Nokia N900 has had an even better week…

Earlier in the week, a small minor firmware update was released, which allowed the Ovi Store to become available for the Maemo platform, and then over the next day or so, the PR1.1 first major firmware release will start appearing on devices for applying.  This brings many little minor fixes to the platform, many of which were reported via the Maemo bug tracker direct to the developers, but probably the single biggest bugfix that is directly relevant to the UK is that 3UK SIMs are now supported by this firmware update.  So, if you have a 3UK SIM you want to use with a Nokia N900, then apply this update (2.2009.51-1) and then you should no longer suffer from “SIM card rejected” messages.

If you are yet to buy a Nokia N900, and have been put off by the high SIM-free price of the device, then Vodafone have announced they will be selling the phone soon.  There are rumours that stocks are already in store, but sales are being held to prevent it impacting on the launch of the iPhone on Vodafone, but I doubt whether anyone will be swayed from one to the other, as they seem to attract a very different customer.  Either way, this new firmware will be well worth applying to your Nokia N900 as soon as it’s available for you.

If you want to access this major update as an OTA (Over The Air) upgrade, you’ll need to apply the more minor upgrade from earlier in the week first, and then shortly afterwards this new firmware should become visible, however, if you use Nokia’s PC based Software Updater, you are able to jump straight to the latest firmware without the intermediate step.

The only issue with this firmware update is that is does not bring the portrait-mode support that was expected, so it’s likely we’ll see another firmware update for the Nokia N900 in the coming months to address that oft-requested feature; also, MMS is still missing, although there is a third party app providing MMS support if you really need it (see here for more details, and here for another program by the same author which allows a secondary APN to be defined on the device, which is often needed to be able to send MMS).  However, we should point out that Nokia and Maemo are aware that the OTA firmware update will not work if certain other software is installed (especially applications from the extras-devel repository, which is not enabled by default on the Nokia N900).  If you are directed to perform the firmware update via your PC, one option is to turn off this repository, and uninstall any applications installed from it, and see if that fixed the “under-the-covers” software problems.

If you really want to see a fairly complete list of fixes, then head to the Maemo PR1.1 release information, although be warned, it’s quite technical, and quite long too!

Finally, if you want to get the latest version of Vagalume (the Maemo Last.fm / Libre.fm client) streaming Last.fm on your Nokia N900, then nokiAAddict has also written up the information on how to achieve this here.

Nokia 5800 XpressMusic Changelog courtesy of nokiAAddict.


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