Branded firmware update

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Nokia 5800

Well, I’m afraid to say, we’ve got very little to report in terms of Branded firmware updates, but let’s go through the variety of devices we monitor, and provide any key information:

Nokia N95 – No change at all (v31 the latest); with 3UK the only network not providing v30 or v31.

Nokia N95 8GB – No change at all (v31 the latest); with Vodafone not providing v30 or v31.

Nokia E71 – v300 was released this week for generic unbranded devices; 3UK are still only offering v100 for their customers.

Nokia E75 – as we covered a while ago, v110 is now out for generic devices.  This device is not common on the main UK networks, although Orange have now started selling it.

Nokia 5800 – most networks are now offering v21 for their customers, except certain Orange variants, still stuck on v11.

Nokia N79 – although v30 has been released, it appears that the Nokia Software Updater is still only offering v20, so you may want to use the OTA (Over The Air) firmware update option.

Nokia N96 – just like the Nokia N79, the v30 is only available via the OTA firmware update option, and not NSU.  All UK networks still seem to be offering v11 or v12 (in fact since Nokia have released v20, T-Mobile have upgraded from v11 to v12).

Nokia N97 – v11 was released this week for generic unbranded devices, although there seems to be some issues with UK devices getting this firmware.  It will be interesting to see how quickly the network branded firmwares are updated…

Hopefully next time we report, we’ll be able to show that the UK networks are happy to keep the latest Nokia phones up to date…


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Nokia N97 3UK Pricing released

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Nokia N97 Black

Well, it looks like we were right and wrong with our information on 3UK‘s Nokia N97 pricing…

For the main Mix’n’Match tariffs, 3UK have stuck with their current method of pricing, which is to bundle the cost of the phone into the monthly fee, so, for example, the lowest tariff (Mix’n’Match 300) is £35 per month for an 18 month contract for the Nokia N97, but you pay no upfront costs for the phone at all.  Now, although this tariff offers all the normal 3UK benefits (Skype, Windows Live Messenger, some 3UK3UK calls, and free voicemail), the total of 300 cross-network / landline minutes does not necessarily look good value compared to Vodafone‘s £35 per month option, which offers 900 cross-network minutes, “unlimited” 3,000 minutes of landline calls, and “unlimited” 3,000 texts and Internet access, although there’s an upfront £150 cost attached to this deal.

However, we talked about 3UK offering similar deals with an upfront payment, and for the Texter plans, 3UK seem to have done just that…

So, for £25 per month (18 month contract), you can get 500 cross-network / landline minutes, “unlimited” 3,000 texts, and Internet access.  Now, this deal has a one-off payment of £146.80 upfront, which does start to look comparable with Vodafone‘s offering.  It’s also interesting to note that the same £146.80 charge would apply to getting a Nokia N95 8GB or a Nokia N96 on that same tariff.

So, the information we gained last week was generally correct; you can get the Nokia N97 for £100 on a £35 per month contract, or pay £200 for a £15 per month contract, but these are all Texter plans, not the more common Mix’n’Match tariffs.

As the week progresses, and more networks reveal their pricing, we’ll try to summarize them all and bring you details of the best deals out there…


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Nokia release final Ovi Maps beta

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Nokia Maps 3.0 with Ovi

Nokia have released what they are claiming should be the final beta version of the new Nokia Maps v3, AKA Maps 3.0 with Ovi Maps.  This new release has a number of new features, including:

  • Additional features such as weather information, safety spot warners in selected countries, extended country coverage for traffic info service and premium POI (Point of Interest) content for travel, selected events and cinema
  • New maps data version
  • Quicker zooming & panning
  • New “Shop & Licenses” format
  • Also, a number of fixes and enhancements onto both Maps Updater and Map Loader have also been implemented – with Maps Updater supporting 21 different languages
  • Last but not least, many bugs have been fixed!

This new version is also compatible with Symbian S60 5th Edition devices, so the list now includes:

S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 1 (E63, E66, E71, E90 Communicator, N81, N81 8GB, N82, N95, N95 8GB)
S60 3rd Edition Feature Pack 2 (E55, E75, N78, N79, N85, N86 8MP, N96, 5320 XpressMusic, 5630 XpressMusic, 5730 XpressMusic, 6210 Navigator, 6220 Classic, 6650, 6710 Navigator, 6720 Classic)
S60 5th Edition (5800 XpressMusic & N97)

To use this, you’ll need to head off to Nokia Beta Labs and download and install the new Map Updater and Map Loader.  If you use SpeedCam on your Nokia to get alerts for speed cameras, the author tells us it should still be compatible with this version (on S60 3rd Edition FP1 and FP2 only; he is still looking into S60 5th Edition support).

Update: If you are a Mac user, then N97Geeks have managed to work out the Map Updater simply downloads a .SIS file and sends it to your phone, and they have intercepted this process and released the .SIS file for Mac users to download and directly send to their Symbian phones.


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Nokia E71 and N95 to get formal BBC iPlayer support

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

BBC iPlayer

It looks like later today BBC will formally release their iPlayer client for the Nokia N95 and Nokia E71 phones.  Although there have been tricks and hacks to get the iPlayer working on these phones, BBC are going to formally support them as from today.  If you head to http://www.bbc.co.uk/mobile/iplayer from your N95 or E71 you will be able to download the iPlayer client for your phone.  However, it will only support downloading content via Wi-Fi, not via 3G.

Update: We’ve now had more information from the BBC (from here); although BBC programme downloads are available on the Nokia E71, they are not available on the Nokia N95 or Nokia N95 8GB due to a lack of DRM certificates pre-installed by Nokia. Also, the BBC have stated that 3UK and Vodafone are able to offer 3G access to the programmes, but at this stage, access is not available to the other UK networks .


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Nokia N96 firmware update

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

Nokia N96

Nokia have updated the Nokia N96 firmware for generic devices (to v20.50).  This hasn’t proved as popular as the Nokia N95 or Nokia N95 8GB (partly due to the more crowded marketplace for smartphones today, and partly because it suffered some problems from the initial firmwares, just like the original Nokia N95 did); so has this firmware ironed out all the problems?  Well, the changelog includes a lot of updates:

New Features

  • Email:
    • Nokia Email client and Mail for Exchange (MfE) preloaded (User will install and configure email clients with the help of Settings Wizard)
    • Settings Wizard 5.0: offers improvements for Nokia Email and MfE setup
    • Active Standby Email Plug-in: showing new email messages on Active Standby screen
  • Look & Feel:
    • Support for Audio Themes: configurable sounds for various events e.g. opening/closing slide, battery low etc
    • Setting to allow a slideshow to be used as wallpaper
    • Slide handling: Setting to allow user to configure effect opening/closing the slide has on a call and keylock
  • Others:
    • WiFi Protected Setup is now supported, allowing simplified setup of WLAN security with a supported WLAN access point
    • Support of IAD (Independent Application Delivery): Allows certain applications to be updated independently over the air.

Improvements

  • Correction for occasional CMLA (Content Management License Administrator) certificate corruption. (These certificates are needed for e.g. Mobile TV and N-Gage license purchases)
  • Energy management:
    • Shorter lights/screen timeout when lockswitch activated. Backlight dims as soon as keylock is enabled
    • Media Keys surrounding the rocker key lit only if a media application is open
    • Right Softkey changed from “Hide” to “Exit” for Music Player for EM savings
  • Photos/Camera/Imaging:
    • A number of improvements made to the Camera image quality
    • The device SW version information is now stored in the image MetaData
    • Default recording quality for video is changed from ‘TV normal’ to TV high’
    • Noise reduction of recorded videos
  • Media/DRM:
    • New version of Music player: Performance and “Comes With Music”-related improvements
    • FlashLite update for improved YouTube compatibility – improvements in rendering of Flash Video
    • General Media player &streaming related usability & performance improvements
    • OMA DRM v2 content can use device clock if no secure clock (i.e. NITZ) is available
  • Browser:
    • Empty bookmark folders removed from Browser bookmarks (i.e. the “Download…” folders)
    • Link to Ovi.mobi is included in Browser bookmarks
  • Others:
    • Vibra enabled when charging
    • When gaming in landscape mode, stereo audio will be played through correct speakers
    • Updated Themes
    • Slide triggered keyguard activation: When closing the slide, pressing any key within 2 seconds will result in keylock not being activated
    • Several error corrections based on Care and operator feedback
    • Several application baseline updates

As the phone supports UDP (User Data Protection), the firmware is a lot easier to install than on many Nokia devices, and the update should be available for both OTA (Over The Air) updates as well as via NSU (Nokia Software Updater) in time.  Branded firmwares should see this update, if the network operator release it.

Changelog courtesy of Symbian World.


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Nokia Firmware updates

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Nokia 5800

It’s been nearly two months since we last looked at Nokia firmwares, so let’s see what’s happened in that time:

  • Nokia N95 – No new firmwares (latest for generic phones is still v31, which came out in January), and we’re pleased to say that T-Mobile and O2 are now offering this version.  Orange are offering v30, which is still commendable, whereas 3UK and Vodafone are in the doghouse for v20 and v21 respectively.
  • Nokia N95 8GB -No new firmware (latest for generic phones is still v31, which came out in February) and although no UK networks seem to have that version available, O2 now joins Orange and 3UK who have been offering v30 since November 2008. Vodafone are in the doghouse as well with “only” v21.
  • Nokia E71 – v210 has been out about a month for generic phones, and well, most operators are still on v100.  Shame, v210 goes a long way to fixing the purple tint camera problem, so you would have thought the networks would want to help out and offer this version to their customers.
  • Nokia 5800 XpressMusic – v21 came out this week for generic phones, but is currently only available as an Over-The-Air Firmware upgrade.  This adds the ability for a breathing light (as featured on many other recent Nokia smartphones), so well worth considering, and with UDP (User Data Protection) you shouldn’t lose your data when you apply the firmware (unlike the phones above).  Some networks have finally started to offer v20, which is a promising start.  Update: This is now available via NSU (Nokia Software Updater) as well now.

Can you help us out? We don’t have a full range of all operator-specific codes for the last two phones, and would love to be able to quote the position on every UK network…  If you have a Nokia E71 or Nokia 5800 XpressMusic which was supplied by one of the UK networks, please leave a comment with the network and the product code (found on the label under the battery, and usually of the form 0569999.  This will allow us to offer more information on these two phones.


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S60 YouTube client launched

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Google

Last week, Google released a YouTube client for Symbian S60 (and Windows Mobile devices).  It supports a wide range of handsets, including all the current popular devices (Nokia N95 8GB, Nokia E71, Nokia N86) and offers automatic selection of the best stream quality based on device and network connection speed, including Wi-Fi streaming.  Users simply need to head to m.youtube.com where you should be offered the download.


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O2 UK have sold over 1 million iPhones

Friday, February 27th, 2009

O2 logo

Good news for O2 UK, they have announced this week they have sold over 1 million iPhones.  Of course, that may not actually be 1 million customers, as some iPhone 3G users will still have their old iPhone in their cupboard somewhere from when they upgraded.  Either way, that’s still a lot of iPhones sold in the UK.

Of course, we mustn’t forget that it only took Nokia 7 months to sell 1 million Nokia N95 phones in the UK back in 2007 (across all operators), so although this is a very good figure for O2, it’s not a unique position to be in.

Although lower end phones are generally more popular across the whole mobile marketplace, these 2 phone ranges do stand out as the most popular high-end smartphones, and both stand head and shoulders above many other phones on the market. We wonder whether 2009 will bring a new champion…


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Nokia N95 8GB special offer

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

3UK have launched a special offer in their 3Store.  You can sign up to an 18 month contract for a Nokia N95 8GB and get a free set of Nokia mini speakers as part of the deal.  This deal is highlighted on our new UK Gadgeteer Offers page, which will list all the special offers and discount codes we have managed to obtain with various online vendors.


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Branded firmware update

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Nokia 5800

We’re not going to provide the full tables this month (tables here from last month), as there has been so little activity by any of the UK network operators on releasing new firmwares, so we thought we would simply provide an update for each device we are monitoring:

  • Nokia N95: v31 released in January 2009; no UK operator is even offering v30 (released September 2008) yet
  • Nokia N95 8GB: v31 now released (in line with Nokia N95 firmware release); no changes from UK operators (3UK and Orange are the only networks to release v30 so far)
  • Nokia E71: v200 was released in January 2009; we’re not aware of any UK operators offering v110, let alone v200, leaving most branded phones on v100
  • Nokia 5800 XpressMusic: v20 was released this week, with most operators still on v11 (although they may well provide this update, as it adds geotagging amongst other things)
  • T-Mobile / Google G1: Despite RC33 being released in the US, UK users are still stuck on RC8 (it’s believed a newer update will be available in the UK towards the end of February)

We’re not the only people getting frustrated by the lack of action on firmwares (see Abdul’s post here), which also highlights another issue; most online Nokia / Symbian users are aware of the ability to use NSS to “rebrand” their mobile phone to allow firmware updates, but at this stage, NSS does not yet support Symbian S60 5th edition (ie for the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic), leaving users no sensible option to allow them to obtain the firmware.

In fact, it appears that Apple are the only company who seem to “get it”, and understand how firmwares should operate, by ensuring the network operator has no control over the release.  Equally, they don’t allow branding of the device, which will always speed up the release of new firmwares.

Please note: branding is about the network providing additional / less applications and features as part of the phone’s firmware, it does not affect the network lock status (aka SIM lock) of the phone, and we don’t recommend or support using third party tools to unlock phones.


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