Nokia updates N900 firmware
But breaks Ovi Store compatibility for older versions
Nokia has released new system software for its Maemo-based N900 smartphone and it's a mandatory update if you want your N900 to remain compatible with the Ovi Store.
The new release, PR 1.2 - aka version 10.2010.19-1 - includes a number of tweaks and improvements, including Skype and Google Talk video chat, Facebook instant messaging, and tweaks to the email system, primarily to allow you to respond to invites from within the email app. There's now an email desktop widget too.
Nokia also said that PR1.2 allows you to browse the web with the N900 in portrait orientation, triggered by pressing a button.
Other tweaks include performance improvements, a new virtual keyboard with the ability to detect keys held down for a longer-than-usual time, triggering number and symbol entry.
Crucially, though PR 1.2 supports a revision of the Ovi Store that's not compatible with the N900's previous firmware, PR 1.1.
Coders will appreciate the inclusion of Qt 4.6.2, the latest version of the N900's application development framework and a crucial bridge to MeeGo, the new OS that's a combination of Nokia's Maemo and Intel's Moblin operating systems.
MeeGo 1.0 was released this week and runs on the N900 as well as Atom-based netbooks. A future version will replace Maemo on the N900 or its successors. ®
@Greg - Expect quality software from Orange do you? They've been writing crap firmware mods for years for S60. Face it, the N900 is abandoned. Great hardware let down by a company badly struggling to work out what direction it should be going in. How many OS's and GUI toolkits do Nokia have now? First they partner with Intel, a company desperate to get x86 into a true mobile device, but who can't quite manage it despite years of trying and then they team up with Yahoo! who are struggling to remain relevant in the face of Bing and Google. It's like a club where all the losers can drown their sorrows.
Nokia is looking like it's about to do a Palm. Their best hope is that Google buys them. Google would gain a dedicated, experienced mobile network hardware engineering company and NAVTEQ mapping. Nokia would gain a modern OS with some developer interest.
Consumers must know that before byuing again from Nokia
For those thinking about getting a N900, think twice at least.
As a loyal Nokia customer for years I bought the N900 right after was launched and spent more than 600 bucks on it.
Nokia already knew at the time that they were working on Meego with Intel, but they rushed to launch N900 with Maemo 5 and now confirmed it won't be upgradable to Meego. The promises of keep support for Maemo 5 is just an excuse while the next Meego device is not launched.
If you buy N900 now will received an about-to-be abandoned OS... If you are willing to wait for the Meego device I would advice to buy from another company besides Nokia, since their behavior with N900 customers is likely to happen again in the future. (For you to know, the first Nokia Meego device is an adaptation and not a fully Meego compliant, since it will use a different packaging schema for application installation, so it is even more likely that the customers will get abandoned again).
Other changes include:
* A really annoying new on-screen keyboard layout where the backspace is in the bottom right instead of the top right.
* OSK is now a pop-up dialog instead of full screen, meaning smaller and harder to hit keys. Still entirely obscures anything behind it.
* Random changed behaviour with no indication of what to do. E.g. the 'application manager' no longer has a search facility, instead you just start typing what you want. Great, but why didn't it tell me that?
* Most built-in apps can be put in portrait mode by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+U and rotating the phone, but some become unusable when you do so. The OSK is landscape-only so when using portait mode, it will switch to landscape whenever you want to input text.
* The "Back" and "Bookmarks" buttons in the browser are swapped around, so I keep going back when I want to use my bookmarks.
Be it said that despite these niggles, the update has been an improvement. Many of the built in apps are more responsive, and the OS uses less space on the root file system (A major fault of the N900, is only having 256MB in the root filesystem, separate from the massive 32GB mass storage) so I now have 85MB free instead of just 20MB.
Skype video chat is a welcome addition, but only really usable on WiFi, especially if (like myself) you're on T-Mobile who packet-shape VoIP over 3G to the point of being unusable.