May 9, 2008

Nokia Firmware and Software Update: Bad Mobile Experience

I went through a lot of work to document a really bad mobile experience I had with my Nokia N95-3's firmware update tonight. This is the very same reason why Apple is just kicking arse in iPhone's seemless integration via iTunes... (never such headache!). I wanted to document this experience hoping that the mobile industry can try to improve and simplify customer's mobile experience:

As I mentioned from my last entry, I was excited to have learned that there may have been an update to the N95 firmware as of April 2008 (Go here and look under Location Tagger reference) and I planned on making some updates tonight. Nokia in general doesn't do a good job letting you know if your firmware is up to date. This site doesn't help much as no matter what code I type in for my phone behind the battery department, it would prompt me that I've put in the wrong code.

As soon as I got home, I booted my MacBook Pro into Windows Vista Ultimate mode to take care of of this update and this is where the nightmare started. At first, I updated the PC Suite software just to be sure I am on top of everything. I originally wanted to remove the older PC Suite that was already installed, but within Vista program removal, the software isn't labeled as PC Suite and there were about 7 Nokia related applications previously installed so I decided to take different route. I went ahead to install the latest PC Suite version 6.86.9.3 since the installation screen prompted that it would remove all previous versions. Not true, after installation, I see two versions of PC Suite running on the my computer background. Somehow I managed to remove the older version and off I go to check for Nokia Software Update. Right away, I get an error message from PC Suite prompting me that Vista is not currently supported (see screen shot). As suggested by the prompt, I visited Nokia's website to download the software update directly from Nokia website. Frustration continues to build up as this time, I keep on getting an fetal ERROR 1731 message, saying the file I downloaded is corrputed. I tried this twice and finally gave up. (see screen shot below)

Wanting to go through this entire process the right way, I pulled my old HP laptop running XP from the closet and once again, downloaded and installed the Nokia PC Suite software to this machine. Again, I followed the on screen instructions to sync up the phone, I am finally connected and ready to go. By the way, this process have triggered atleast 10+ actions in which I had to approve from my firewall; it seems that Nokia's software is launching different services to access the internet and acting as a server. Keep in mind that at this point, none of Nokia's software have not actually confirmed with me if my firmware is outdated our not. You'd think as soon as I click on download handset software button, this would be the first step right? Not. This time around, it just automatically redirected me back to the same Nokia website as mentioned above where I am prompted to download the software update directly. I finally finished the download and was ready for a firmware update and guess what: the software now tells me that my N95-3 (RM-160) is up to date w/ 11.2.009 ver.

After all this work, I can't believe that there are no firmware update available. I don't understand why Nokia Maps Beta 2.0 page would suggest that I download the latest firmware version 22.0.015 (see screenshot on left). This whole process is just way too complicated for even a power user. I can't imagine the mass public to be able to understand the relationship between all the software that is required to maximize this phone's potential. Nokia has basically setup a bunch of modular applications such as: Map Loader, Music Manager, Installer, etc. to manage every aspect of the phone's functionality. From the top, it looked as if PC Suite can help manage all of this process, but in reality, its just a glorified menu screen which is not responsible for anything. By updating PC Suite, you are not updating the individual applications. This is just too much work for non-technical people, especially considering they have so many different hardware versions (N95-1, N95-2, N95-3, N95-4) as well as firmware product codes for different regions (ie. Asian, Europe, Middle East, etc...). The iPhone's firmware update experience is a million times easier... besides, I am always clear if iPhone has an firmware update.

Knowing my firmware is up to date, I continued on with my plan to install Nokia Maps 2.0 Beta and Location Tagging. The installation for those .sis file was smooth using PC Suite's installation program. I will provide more updates and reviews for both at a later time.

1 comment:

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General 2G Network GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
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Size Dimensions 110 x 53 x 16.7 mm

Weight 145 g

Display Type TFT touchscreen, 65K colors

Size 800 x 480 pixels, 3 inches
- Full QWERTY keyboard
- Optical joystick navigation

Ringtones Type Polyphonic, MP3
Customization Composer, download

Vibration Yes

Memory Phonebook 1000 x 20 fields, Photo call

Call records 30 received, dialed and missed calls
Card slot microSD (TransFlash)
- 400 MB internal memory
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Data GPRS Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32 - 48 kbps
HSCSD No
EDGE Yes
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WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11b/g

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USB Yes, v2.0

Features OS Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.0 Professional
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Browser WAP 2.0/HTML (IE), RSS feeds
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Camera 3.15 MP, 2048x1536 pixels, autofocus, video(VGA@30fps),
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