Nokia just released a new firmware for the N95 8GB, updating the version 10.0.021 that came originally with the phone to version 11.0.026. According to the brief change information provided, the update reportedly includes performance and stability improvements to the browser and Nokia maps applications.
I’m quite pleased that the update is already available for my SingTel branded phone, just about 2 days after the news of the update became generally known. In the past, I had to wait for over a month or two for updates to my M1 branded N73 to be available. It looks like SingTel is more responsive in so far as Nokia software updates are concerned.
Firmware updates for phones are not as straight-forward as, say, updating your Windows XP PC. Nokia customizes their standard firmware for specific mobile operators. For example, many mobile operators may have special menu items, or background images, or even (unfortunately) disabling of some phone features. When Nokia updates their standard firmware, all the operator specific variants don’t become instantly available right-away. Customizations have to be done for each operator specific variant, and the updates need to be “approved” by the operator, then only does that firmware update become available to phones that are tied to or bought from that operator.
So you can imagine that the extra workflow through the operator for approval of their specific customizations can cause some delays. Sometimes, users don’t care about the operator customizations, but unfortunately there is no “sanctioned” way for them to obtain the generic firmware. The phones are identified by product codes, which will tell which operator the phone is tied to. The phone doesn’t have to be locked to the operator, yet it will still have a unique product code to identify it as being “customized” to that operator.
Some users get around this “problem” by changing the product code, which is saved in the phone’s memory. You will void your phone’s warranty if you do this, and if you still want to take that risk, you can search Google to find more information. I can understand it gets rather annoying to know that a firmware update is available to fix important bugs that you are experiencing, but yet you cannot download the update. I waited quite a while for several updates for my N73 before the software became stable enough.
Just a reminder for those planning to update firmware: Always make a backup of your phone to your PC. The phone will start-up in a “factory default” state after the firmware update. You will need to restore all your content from the backup you made. In the past, there has been user complaints that backups made to memory cards were also wiped out by the updating process, so don’t take that risk: Make sure you update to your PC instead of to “mass memory” (which replaces the memory card on the N95 8GB).
ps: The upgrade did screw up iSync support. Check out my Configuring Mac OS X for N95 HSDPA page. (Yes, I did put in a paragraph or two about iSync.)