Nokia released a firmware upgrade, V 20.2.011, for the US model N95 yesterday. I had no problems installing it on my N95. The process took about 30 minutes; 5 minutes to do a backup with PC Suite, about 20 minutes for Nokia Software Update (now part of PC Suite) to flash the new firmware and another 5 minutes to restore the backup. The process was very smooth and confidence inspiring and I had no problems with the actual upgrade.
Nokia’s backup and restore did a perfect job of puting back contacts, calendar items, notes and messages but it did not restore most of the 3rd party applications I had on the phone. I expected that, having experienced the same thing last time I did a Nokia firmware upgrade. It’s going to take me hours to reinstall the 40 or so applications I had on the phone. Nokia needs to fix this. Something called “Backup” should backup everything and restore should put it all back the way it was.
Several new applications also come bundled with the upgrade. There are N-Gage game demos; FIFA07 (soccer) and Asphalt 3 Street Rules (car racing), Non game additions are Share Online 2.0, Nokia Search and something called MyNokia which says it’s not available in the US when launched.
My gaming is limited to an occasional hand of Solitare so I’m totally unqualified to comment on the games. I did find their graphics and sound impressive with very smooth, fast animation and realistic crowd noises in the soccer game. The soccer demo seems to be limited to ten plays, though. SymbianWeblog has a mini-review of the game demos with lots of screenshots here: FIFA07, Asphalt.
Share Online is Nokia’s answer to Shozu, it adds a Share menu icon to the camera’s in-shot menu to make it easy to immediately upload a photo or video. There doesn’t seem to be an option to automatically upload pictures as soon as you shoot them like you can with Shozu. Upload destinations are limited to Ovi, Flickr and Vox. Shozu can upload to almost any online sharing site or to an email address. Share Online does have one big advantage over Shozu, you can upload files as large as 100MB compared Shozu’s 10MB limit. When shooting videos with the N95, it very easy to exceed 10MB, so the higher limit is much appreciated. Share Online appears on the Active Standby screen where it shows the number of comments you’ve received on each of the three services it supports.
Nokia Search also adds an entry to Active Standby. It lets you search phone content, including music, calendar, notes, messages and applications or start a Yahoo or Microsoft Live (sorry no Google put Google does have there own Active Standby search app for S60) web search. The on phone search is really great if you store everything on your phone like I do.
The upgrade brings the year old model’s software into parity with the new N95 8GB that I’m trialing. Just like the 8GB, it’s got demand paging, Web Run Time, N-Gage support, and Flash Lite 3.0. Upgrading is highly recommended as it improves performance substantially , speeds up the camera and the inclusion of Flash Lite 3 lets you watch Flash videos from any site right in the browser.