Rant: Nokia – Your Firmware Update Apparatus Needs A SERIOUS Overhaul

It is no secret that I am a big fan of Nokia S60 devices and don’t think twice before recommending such a device to anyone. What’s more is that I am also in a habit to observe what devices are people using, somewhat automatically.

So when I actually see people using Nokia S60’s I more often than not suggest an application, some tweak or anything to help get them more out of a device. On all occasions people have been happier after incorporating what I had to say, but this one occasion was different.

I happened to see that the person I was interning under was using a Nokia E61i and was pretty happy with it. I also saw that he was using the same firmware the device shipped with so I thought a firmware update was needed, sure enough I recommended updating for better performance. Since he was using a Vista Laptop and Vista Support for NSU had just come out, I didn’t think twice. This is where EVERYTHING started to go wrong.

First up the NSU install took ages! On my XP machine in took seconds, on Vista something like 5 minutes. It asked for a reboot and we complied. After that the application attempted to start for what seemed like ages and after all the waiting, I get an error ‘some components missing -please reinstall’. Fail.

Still undeterred, we attempt a reinstall but to no avail same story. On the third attempt the application starts and I get the same age old ‘Generic Services’ error from the past. I say to myself what is happening? Another try and this time the application seems to be okay, it identifies the device and shows an update available. But when I try and update it says low battery, try later. This is inspite the fact that I have the charger plugged in already! Fail.

Somehow after a long wait, it is time to flash the phone and this part seems to go well, until the phone comes back on! That horrible ‘Installing’ box pops in as installed files from the memory card try and get back up. Irritating. I take out the memory card and do a format for a clean start. You would think this would help, No!

Next I restore the backup from the PC and hope for the best. This is where it gets painful. Once the backup is restored, for some reason, the shortcut keys malfunction. The message shortcut key no longer works and it crashes. The phone is buggy as hell and unusable.

This scenario begs the question *** happened? Since I have a lot of experience doing this I think I can fix it, with a reflash and perhaps selective restoration of just the Contacts/Calender. Perhaps a format of the memory card will help too. But what about someone who is new to this stuff? The person who’s phone was being updated was absolutely disgusted and I was taking flak for even suggesting the update! Even before this had happened he said there was no way he would even try doing it himself.

Updating firmwares is some Nokia wants people to do themselves, yet it is so cumbersome. The NSU is buggy as hell, the backup restoration is a pain, user data preservation is no where to be seen. For a normob this is something that he/she shouldn’t even be trying. God, knows what will happen if he somehow bricks his handset!

I have never taken so much flak for such a thing, so may be this post is written in disgust. But it still doesn’t absolve Nokia from the fact that updating firmwares is such a headache. Here’s what I want – One simple downloadable application that once installed does everything for me.

All I do is plug the phone in, it backs up my data, installs the firmware, restores the data, including time/data settings which can be pulled from the computer. In short, it must make sure that I don’t even come to know that my firmware has been updated and my phone memory flashed. I don’t care whether there is UDP or some other term thats completely meaningless to a Nokia user on the street. Please just for this one time, make this a single step process that involves no interaction from my side.

Till the day that happens, I am never going to recommend a firmware update to anyone. I will continue to use the service myself as I know the risks and a workaround if something goes wrong but for others, well….

12 thoughts on “Rant: Nokia – Your Firmware Update Apparatus Needs A SERIOUS Overhaul”

  1. I think the ship has sailed in terms of updating earlier OS9 handsets. Plain and simple, we’re just screwed.

    Thankfully with FP2 we can now use SSU for OTA updates and it works perfectly with zero data loss (I’ve tested it). It remains to be seen how major updates will work though.

  2. i updated my E51 firmware on vista. was a piece of cake.
    well, not exactly coz internet in pakistan is bandwidth deprived and it was a 67MB download, not to mention the double update of software updater itself.

    but other than that it was smooth. a few minutes or several seconds don’t mean anything if you are doing something as major as an update. we are re installing the whole operating system, for crying out loud.

    and oh, even before this vista update fixing, my cousin updated his E50 (not E51) on my vista laptop without any problems 4-5 months back.

    yes i do agree, they should have something better for the applications re-installation. and it yes, it should be one-step like you say in the second last paragraph.

  3. This is why I haven’t upgraded my firmware on my N95-3, I’m really afraid I will lost all my data. Maybe my contacts and calendar is not such a big deal, since I can syncronize it with my laptop, but all my expenses info, and all the programs I have installed, will be lost.
    I prefer my slow buggish firmware, than losing all my data.

  4. What we need is OTA updates…this way the update size is way smaller and its easyier, safer and its the right way to do it…let’s hope nokia wakes up.

  5. Nokia have recently introduced OTA in N78. They have also launched the first Firmaware Update, which is just 900KB in size. But for users of FP1, I guess we are still stuck with NSU 🙁

  6. will we really lose our apps if we take a back up? Mine is xp and the question is hypothetical as of now since there no recent updates for my n 82. But i have got quite a few licenced softwares. Handy taskman, opera mobile, f secure and all. Will my registration be lost if i take a back up vaibhav?

  7. Ashu, from what I’ve seen so far, its always a good idea to reinstall the applications again. However, certain applications do survive a backup/restore; I’m not sure about the ones you mentioned.

  8. ok. I have the registration codes. So its fine. Its actually worth the effort if your phone gets updated! Wishing for OTA for FP1 also. Did you go thru nick’s review of n 96 on aas? 950 mah is not a bad deal at all. Give it a reading. Night pics are not tried but the daylight ones are just amazing!
    Also, mark had a guest at the nokia blog and this fellow stumbled upon an accessory he claims is usb charger. If that is true, n 96 is just as unbeatable as it would get. Check that out and provide us with the insight.

  9. Oh yeah, the accessory has been available for quite a while now, nifty piece. Sadly, there won’t be OTA updates for FP1 devices.

    Saw those pictures and they make me look forward to the N96 even more. 🙂

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