Nokia started a rollout of new firmwares to a range of S60 v3.2 (3rd Edition FP2) and S60 v5 (Symbian^1) devices yesterday which will bring a range of new features to these phones.
The main update is a new Web Browser, the same as will/is shipping in the Anna update for Symbian^3 phones. This is much faster than the previous browser, and even in the short time I’ve had access to it, it does seem a much faster and better browser.
Additionally, Ovi Maps has been updated. For S60 v3.2 devices, the latest version available is v3.04, but that does bring a range of new features such as WiFi and Cell ID positioning to help speed up the initial GPS fix. For S60 v5 devices, this means v3.06, which also brings the ability to update the maps direct from the device (although the latest maps released by Nokia are still from back in February 2011; it would be nice to see Nokia moving to a quarterly map update schedule).
It should be pointed out that for some of the devices, the Maps update has been available from the Software Update tool built into the phone, and in this scenario, the main firmware update does not seem to include the Maps update. If you have such a device, you have already got the latest Maps, and the new firmware does not modify that.
Finally, there is support for emoticons within Messages. If you type characters such as : ) it will automatically turn it into a graphical emoticon. Otherwise, you can select to insert an emoticon from the keyboard menu.
So, which devices will this be rolling out to? Nokia have said:
My understanding is that the Nokia 5230, C6-00, E5, E52 and E72 all started to receive the firmware update from yesterday, with the other devices following over the next few weeks.
If you have a Symbian^1 phone, you can also download the Nokia Evolve theme from the Ovi Store (here), which will give the built in apps the same style of icons as the upcoming Anna update for Symbian^3 devices.
One word of warning though; it seems that this firmware update has a bug on all devices with homescreen widgets which will cause the very useful “Coming Next” widget to break and display an error message. Nokia are aware of this (basically any attempt to access the Calendar from a Web Runtime Widget returns a blank response), and have indicated it will need a further firmware update for all devices to fix, so if your busy schedule relies upon the “Coming Next” widget, you might want to think long and hard before applying this update.
Overall, I’ve found a combination of the latest Ovi Maps, the latest Anna browser, and the Evolve icons does bring a good refresh to existing Symbian phones, and should extend their life a little further; it’s definitely nice to see Nokia releasing these software updates to elder phones; oh, and if you are a fan of Gravity (the all round best Social Networking client for Symbian) you’ll be glad to know the latest Alpha has an Anna-style application icon to match the rest of the icons.