[Update – The v30.009 N86 firmware is now available via the Nokia Software Updater as well as over the air. an OTA update option should follow soon].
If you are one of the few people who bought the N86, there is good news. A new v30 firmware will be making its way to your devices by the weekend if everything goes well inside of Nokia. I said ‘few people’ because the N86 was one of the best Nseries devic es that Nokia made, yet they failed to market it well.
I hardly saw any advertising or promotion and this a pretty fine handset didn’t reach the heights it should have. I have a N86 and I love it. Anyway, back to the firmware, there is no changelog yet, but we know that v30 is a maintenance release with no new functionality as such. In addition to bug fixing and performance enhancements around the system, we will see updated Maps software with the ability to share location and improvements to messaging performance.
The N86 firmware that was suppossed to bring face detection and other improvements and bug fixes is here in the form of v20.115. The update is available OTA (as a 7.5MB download) and also via the Nokia Software Updater. The update brings a speed boost as well as more internal memory (now upto 70MB) and more RAM as well (now upto 65 MB on boot up).
There are also major improvements to the camera, an Ovi Chat shortcut on the homescreen, preloaded Ovi Store client and bug fixes for quite a few other applications. All in all a must perform update. The N86 has user data preservation so you will not loose data when you update.
Red-eye removal added (Nokia note: “this is image processing which removes the red-eye. You need to be in red-eye reduction flash mode for it to be operational. Other flash modes it is disabled as there is a small shot to shot impact due to the extra image processing.”)
New focus point indication – this shows where in the scene the camera is focussing
Improved Close-up focus (Nokia note: “As a result you will find in most situations you can focus much closer than before. The new focus point indication will also help in confirming which part of your subject is used for critical focus checking”)
Face detection is indicated by a yellow square
Bug fixes to the following applications:
Music Store Client
Ovi Maps (including faster calibration of the digital compass)
Here & Now
The following has also been added in the update:
Automatic VoIP re-registration.
Ovi Chat shortcut on the homescreen
A new Ovi services splash screen
An Ovi Store client (although it is quite buggy; selections from the Options menu are problematic)
An initial option to check for software updates when a customer first boots up the phone.
In what should come as great news for those of you who already own the N86 and even greater motivation for those of you thinking of pulling the trigger on Nokia’s imaging flagship, AAS reveals that the next firmware of the N86 will bring ‘Face Detection’ to the device. This mode allows the camera to automatically scan and focus on human faces and should help the N86 notch up even better results.
The new firmware is also expected to brings a bucketload of bug fixes and even greater improvements to the camera such as less artefacts and better colours. I’ve always believed that the N86 was a great device, but all of this makes me wonder why doesn’t Nokia promote the N86 more, infact it should, much more. Remember the video zoom?
Having to sign an application every time you want to install something that’s not Symbian Signed is a bit of a pain, yes it can be done on the phone but if you want to completely rid yourself of this hassle then hacking your device is the best way forward. Unfortunately, Nokia had blocked this procedure via a new firmware for devices such as the E71, N96 and devices like the N97 were previously unhackable.
However, the Symbian community has once again managed a breakthrough in the from of the spanking new HelloOX2 application and you can hack almost any S60 3rd or 5th Edition device, Samsung i8910 HD included. This simple app will help you hack your device in under 5 minutes, all from the comfort of your bed without needing a computer. Difficulty level- Noob. Here’s how:
Next run the application, you will see quite a few screens like the following appear:
Now you will be asked if you want to install Modo, a file manager with the capability of seeing all files, including the ones in the ‘Sys’ folder. Installing it or not will not affect the hack, I chose to install it. The application will then quit and your phone would be ‘hacked’.
But before you can install any unsigned application, you will need to open ‘ROM Patcher’ from the ‘Applications’ folder and activate the ‘Installserver_FP2’ patch.
Hit Options and then ‘Apply’. That’s it. You can now forget about signing files.
Lastly, a word of caution. Please be very careful in what unsigned files you install. Wares and applications from untrusted sources can damage your device. Also, please do this at your own risk.
Nokia smartphones have had digital zoom for ages now, however there was never a point in using it as the picture quality turned terrible. Even in the video mode while shooting in the VGA resolution, despite having a much larger sensor e.g. 5MP, it only zoomed in using the VGA segment which resulted in pretty poor quality.
According to a killer discovery by Steve Litchfield, the N86 changes that. It uses the entire sensor to record video which results in better low light performance along with the ability to put the digital zoom to good use. Here’s what he had to say:
Nokia are simply using the whole sensor to capture light for the video – when zoomed in, they’re simply downsampling differently.
If you zoom in much beyond 4x, you hit the same problems as digital zoom on other camera phones, i.e. things start to pixellate in ugly fashion. But 4x seems about right, since the VGA rendered frame is about four times (linearly) smaller than the full 8mp sensor.
Check out the video for a better idea of how this works out in reality.
Following suit from the recently released Nokia N97, its younger sibling the N86 has also been updated to the v11 firmware. The update should bring bug fixes and stability improvements and is available via both the Nokia Software Updater and over the air. The N86 features user data preservation so you can update without having to loose any data.
Unconfirmed reports suggest tweaks for the camera and video recording, Ovi Store integration, an update for the Maps application and better performance in the landscape mode, along with improvements in the browser Share Online and Settings Wizard performance.
In you notice any changes, make sure you let us know via the comments section.