Nokia Map Update

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Back in July I mentioned that Nokia had released a map update for Nokia Maps for v3.06, but not v3.04 (as used on some elder devices such as the Nokia E71).  However, someone mentioned to me the other day that Nokia had updated the maps again. Sure enough, a quick check via the Maps Update function confirmed new maps were available, so I downloaded them via my PC (I don’t have quite enough spare space on the phone to download them directly).  These new maps are dated 26 September 2011, a little over two months since the last update.  As this was the third map update this year, it will be interesting to see whether they have moved to a more regular two-monthly update process, or whether they simply release one update per quarter (ie the July update was just very late).

Also, although the elder v3.04 Maps client doesn’t have a built in Map Update facility, I still connected my Nokia E71 to my PC, and it also offered a map update.  I’m not sure exactly when the update was released, but based on the map data (there’s one major new road near me that’s appeared in both these updates that was not included in the July update), it looks like the maps for the elder client are also very recent.

If you have a Nokia Symbian phone, don’t forget to update the maps every now and then.


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Nokia Sleeping Screen graduates

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Back in April I mentioned a new Nokia Beta Labs application, Nokia Sleeping Screen. Well, this has now graduated from the beta programme and is now available from within the Nokia Store (as part of many other changes this year, Nokia are removing the Ovi name, so what was the Ovi Store is now the Nokia Store). If you want to try out the new Nokia Sleeping Screen, head here.

As I said back in April, I’d like to see apps like Nokia Sleeping Screen and Nokia Situations being included as standard from within the firmware to allow Nokia Symbian devices to compete with the other smartphone OSes, such as Android. Having said that, with the new Belle firmware due out in the next month or so (*) (which will replace the current Anna firmware for Symbian^3 devices), Nokia will have a good all round package to compete.

(*) Nokia are already making new devices available with Belle, but the upgrade for existing models is not due for a little longer.


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Nokia release Map Update

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

As soon as I published the story yesterday about Nokia not having released any map updates since the February 2011 update what happens; yes, yesterday Nokia released an update to their Ovi Maps data for v3.06 (S60 v5 devices).  I should add that to the best of my knowledge there is not an update for the v3.04 Ovi Maps client for the S60 v3 devices, such as the Nokia E71.

If you are already running v3.06 then you can simply go into Ovi Maps and select Update and the update will be available for you.  The UK map is about 219MB to download, but you’ll also need a little free space for it to install the update too, so if you are tight on disk space another option is to use Ovi Suite, which downloads the file onto the PC and seems to need slightly less overall disk space to install the update.

Personally, I seem to always end up having trouble with the update working directly on the phone, but have generally found the Ovi Suite method more reliable.  If you do manage to do the update on your phone, it can take some while, so don’t be impatient.

Interestingly, the update is dated 14 July 2011, which is 5 months since the last maps of February 2011; it will be interesting to see how long we have to wait for the next maps…


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New Ovi Maps v3.08 (Beta)

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Keeping with the Maps theme, Nokia have released (through the Nokia Beta Labs programme) another beta update to Ovi Maps.  v3.08 brings a number of new features (over the earlier v3.07 beta):

Drive Enhancements:

  • Live traffic routing takes traffic information into account to avoid traffic jams automatically (available in Germany, France, US, UK and Russia).
  • Turn on “Avoid traffic” in your “Route settings” to take traffic conditions into account while you drive. Always get the best route for right now.
  • New Drive look & feel – home screen now has buttons for “Set destination,” “Drive home” and “Just drive.”
  • “Just drive” or Drive assistance shows your accurate speed, gives speed warnings, the distance driven and real time traffic.
  • New information bar on Drive navigation and Drive assistance screens.
  • Also easily toggle between Estimated Time of Arrival in minutes or distance to your destination – just tap the icon on the screen.
  • New option menus in Drive.
  • Set a contact as a destination.
  • Easily change your settings during Drive navigation. Changes in settings are immediate and can been seen instantly.

Additional improvements

  • Long tap is now available to give quick access to “Drive to,” “Walk to,” “Share” and various lists.
  • Settings reorganized to “General” “Maps & Walk” and “Drive.”

One key point; this is a Symbian^3 only product, so if you are a Symbian S60 5th Edition (aka Symbian^1) user, then you won’t be able to get this update.  We’ve already seen S60 v3 devices limited to v3.04 Ovi Maps, and now S60 v5 device are unlikely to progress beyond v3.06; what’s not so clear is whether and for how long we’ll see map updates for these elder clients.

I believe the latest maps available for v3.04 are from 2010, whereas the maps for v3.06 haven’t been updated since Feb 2011


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Nokia bringing “Anna” updates to older phones

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

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:

S60 v3.2:

S60 v5:

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.


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Symbian Anna finally coming to existing devices

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

If you own an existing Symbian^3 device (Nokia N8, Nokia E7, Nokia C6-01 etc.) then you might want to keep some time free in August.  The latest major firmware update (now called Anna) has been shipping on the new Nokia E6 and Nokia X7 since release in the last few weeks.  Now Nokia have confirmed it will be available in two phases for the existing devices.  Firstly, if you haven’t yet bought one, those existing devices will start shipping from Nokia with Anna pre-installed from July, but for all existing customers, you’ll need to wait until August when the firmware will be able to be downloaded via the latest Ovi Suite (or direct on the device).

This is good news, although it is a lot later than it should have been.  However, the new styling that Anna brings will breathe some fresh air into those existing devices.

One small ray of hope though; if you have a Nokia N8, Nokia C7 or Nokia E7 from 3UK, and you make a call to another user of one of those devices also where the phone came from 3UK, then you might find your call actually goes via their new HD voice service which will provide much better clarity on the call.  Although currently not available cross-network, 3UK have stated they are hoping to be able to support cross-network HD voice calls soon.


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Nokia continue Symbian innovation

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

A lot of people have been writing Nokia (and Symbian) off, but in my opinion they are slowly and surely still providing innovation on the Symbian platform.  As someone who now spends more time using Android, they still have a major problem around 3rd party app and 3rd party website support, but sometimes Nokia announce something that continues to progress; in this case it’s the Nokia Sleeping Screen. As with all innovation, it’s currently in beta with Nokia Beta Labs, but the Nokia Sleeping Screen allows you to see missed calls, unread text messages, and reminders presented in a clear way on the standby screen.  Better than that, Nokia have designed it to take advantage of the latest OLED screen such that it has as minimal effect on battery life as is possible.  As well as being kind on the battery, it has a Night Clock setting to dim the screen overnight, and if it notices the screen is covered (in a bag, case or pocket) it will turn off the screen completely.

It’ll only work on Symbian^3 phones, and needs either Qt v4.6.4 or v4.7.2, which is another area of concern to me in the short term; different Qt apps need different versions of Qt, and I’ve even seen one Qt app that after uninstallation managed to knock out a system application pre-installed on the phone by impacting the Qt subsystem.  Nokia need to settle Qt down, produce firmware updates for all devices to pre-install that version, and prevent the need for individual apps to be burdened with the Qt installation problems of late.

However, overall, the Nokia Sleeping Screen definitely seems to be a worthwhile new application; just like Qt, I would like to see current beta apps Nokia Situations and Nokia Sleeping Screen included as standard on updated firmwares; when that happens, it will really show Symbian is back on form.

As for my use of Symbian, there are still a few apps which draw me back to Symbian on a regular basis; Gravity, Ovi Maps (with the offline maps, decent traffic, support for walking modes, built in 3rd party mapping related information such as TripAdvisor and Qype); ViewRanger would be the other app, but as I also have iOS and Android versions of the app available to me, I simply run ViewRanger on every device I can!  I have to say going back to Symbian reminds me how limited the homescreen customisation is; with different sized widgets instead of just being able to select what each row represents (on Symbian), I hope the major UI refresh coming to Symbian in the Summer works on the homescreen, and I’ve heard it adds multi-sized widget support, so it may well bring Symbian back to the fore.

Oh, and if you’ve got a Symbian^3 phone, v2.5.1 of the Nokia Situations beta was released a week or so back and brought a whole range of greater options to the conditions used to select different profiles.  Equally, v1.3 of Nokia’s Social App was recently released too, though in my opinion, you’re better sticking to Gravity.


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New firmware version for Nokia E7

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Since Nokia moved to OTA Updates with UDP (User Data Preservation), it’s been a lot easier, and a lot less painful to update a Nokia phone with firmware updates, and as a result, our regular feature for pointing out when specific operators released their specific versions of firmware updates has stopped.  This is partly because many of the UK mobile network operators have actually got faster at releasing updates, and hence the need to point out how bad they are has gone away.

Anyway, although only just starting to ship, the new Nokia E7 has received an update to v14, which is a fairly minor update.  The major update still due for the Nokia N8 as well as the Nokia E7 is likely to come in the next few months (it’s already available to selected sources, so is unlikely to be too far away), and then there will be a further UI refresh later in the year.

This last point is key; despite announcing a move away from Symbian to Windows Phone, Nokia is not going to ignore the many millions of current Symbian phone users, and still plans to provide updates over the coming quarters; how long this continues though is not yet clear.


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Ovi Store now support mobile billing

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Something not many people seem to have noticed, but Nokia have announced that many of the UK networks are now supported for billing within the Ovi Store; before, you had to either strike it lucky with your network choice, or use a credit card, but Nokia have confirmed that if you are a customer of T-Mobile, Orange, 3UK, O2 or Vodafone, you can now select to have any purchases added to your mobile phone bill instead.  It’s not clear if this agreement covers the smaller virtual operators such as Virgin Mobile or GiffGaff, but it’s certainly a good start, and adds an option commonly not available on other platforms.


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TomTom make Live HD Traffic data available on desktop

Monday, March 21st, 2011

TomTom are now providing access to their HD Traffic data via a browser, allowing users access to the data without being in the car, and allows potential new customers to see how effective their data is before becoming a customer.  The data is available here, although you’ll need to select your country, and then zoom in to see how accurate it is.  Certainly local to me something seem very accurate, with local rush hour hotspots being picked out (presumably via their link with Vodafone allowing them access to anonymised mobile speed records), although some things (like a 3 month road closure for roadworks) don’t appear.

In the face of stiff competition from the likes of Nokia’s Ovi Maps and Google Maps for Mobile, it’s nice to see TomTom trying new options to support and encourage users.


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