We updated the N97 to firmware 2.0 and…

31 Oct

N97 update

Firmware updates are kinda funny. On the one side, they give us thrill as it enables us to access new features on the trusty old handset (we still haven’t finished trembling at getting the App Store on our iPhone 2Gs with the iPhone 2.0 firmware update). On the other, they forever hold the threat of mucking up all the content on our phones and even rendering it useless for a while. 

So when the cellphone bosses at Espoo announced that they had come up with a significant firmware update for their (floundering?) flagship, the N97, we were on the horns (ouch!) of a dilemma. Our adventurous side urged us to go get that bit of software that might just put the much-maligned device on the road to redemption, while our conservative side reminded us that the folks who had given us the handset for software reviews and tinkering would not really be too forgiving if the firmware bricked it. Adventure won in the end.
To start off, we first got pout our copy of Great Expectations to see if the N97 would update firmware over the air, Android style, by heading over to the Software Update on the phone. However, while it did identify the presence of a firmware upgrade – and it got the version (v20.2.019) right too- it asked us to head over to the PC and download it and then transfer it to the phone. So we revved up the Nokia Software Updater app on our PC, connected the phone and started off. Of course, we made sure we had backed up everything and even removed the sim from the phone, hoping it would not be needed. Well, that did not work – the software asked us to put the sim right back in. After about 160 MB of downloads, it was time to install the firmware on our device. We took a deep breath and clicked OK. For a while it seemed as if all our horrors of software updates were about to come true as the update would get to around 15 per cent and then insist that the device was disconnected and ask us to take out the battery and then reconnect it. However, suddenly there was light and lo and behold, our N97 had been updated to the new firmware.
But that was only part of the task done. Would the effort of updation be worth it? Well, we have been handling the upgraded N97 for about a day now and must admit to being impressed. We have not really had the time to put the new Ovi Maps or the tweaks made to the camera (frankly, we cannot see too much difference in the shooter) – but the phone has definitely improved in terms of the touch interface (kinetic scrolling works!) and battery life. Apps seem to be opening more quickly and we definitely LOVE the fact that a long press of a key on the onscreen keypad brings up secondary characters and symbols. Oh, and we have not charged the phone since we updated it – more than a day now – and it is still running. Coolness.
All of which leads us to recommend the new firmware upgrade to all ye who using the N97. It is rather reminiscent of the first major firmware upgrade of the iconic N95 that transformed it from a battery guzzling slowpoke to a slightly more brisk operator that tended to need recharging a bit more often than your run of the mill N series device. Does it make the N97 a thataphone killer? Um…well, it does make it more user-friendly. We will leave it at that. And now, we are gonna rest.

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