18 September 2010

Nokia E72 firmware version V51

Nokia released a major update for the E72 handset in September 2010. The previous version was V31, so V40 and V50 weren't even released to the public. According to many online resources there are something like 450 bugfixes in V51. There are also some new features that some people would consider to be bugs, and curiously enough, some pieces of software appear to have been downgraded between versions V31 and V51.

V51 is currently available via Nokia Software Updater and as Firmware-over-the-air.

There are various sources of information on the internet listing things that are supposed to have changed. What I'd like to do here is give you an idea of what the new firmware feels like, which is something you can't put on paper.

Visually, very little has changed. To be honest, the only difference I've noticed is a smaller clock at the bottom of the screen.

People who tend to use the keypad to select elements in the phone's menus will be pleased to hear that the '7' and '8' keys can now be used again. That ability was removed in V31 for some reason or other.

The menus do seem a little more responsive generally, although the digits still take ages to display while you're dialling a number.

The voice control application, vlingo, does get in the way when you start the phone up for the first time. Although it starts in the background and you can kill the application by long-pressing the menu key, scrolling to the vlingo icon and pressing the delete key, it starts again next time you start the phone, and will carry on doing so until you tell it not to.

The way to do this is not self-evident at all. Nor is why you should have to do this in the first place because the E72 already has built-in recognition of voice commands without the need for third-party software. Carry on answering questions asked by the application as if you were planning on using it until you get to the page where you're invited to hold down the "voice activation" key, speak a phrase into the microphone and then release the voice activation key. The thing is, you're invited to press the "back" key instead of the voice activation key (on the side of the phone between the volume/zoom keys), so you end up in an endless loop and cannot complete the settings and get rid of vlingo.

Instead of holding the voice activation key, start typing some text instead. You will be informed that you can indeed input text directly and asked if you want to skip the voice configuration. You can then proceed to the next pages in the configuration process and at some point you will be asked if you want vlingo to start when the phone starts. This is where you can say "no" and no longer be bothered with the software.

Even though we are all told that the browser, media player and messaging application have been updated, there is no perceptible change.

Adobe Reader LE is a useful piece of software for reading PDF files. The trouble is, many recent PDF files require Adobe LE 2.5, which came with firmware V31. Firmware V51 downgrades Adobe LE to version 1.5. I have no idea why this is.

Up until now, the keypad autolock would only kick in if you were on the standby screen. Go into the menu or into any application and the keypad would no longer lock. With V51, the keypad will lock automatically regardless of the screen you're on. Some people are calling this a "bug" (probably because it's a change from what they were used to), I think that it makes things more consistent and I welcome the change.

I think some optimisation has taken place in order to reduce power consumption and thus get more life out of the battery. Under normal circumstances, the battery indicator will show "full" for most of the battery's charge cycle. Once it drops a bar, the battery is usually flat within 24 hours. The gauge had dropped a bar yesterday morning, and this evening, about 34 hours later, it is still on 3 bars, and that is with the WLAN switched on almost permanently (I use the E72 as a VoIP/SIP phone). So, instead of being flat as a pancake in 24 hours, it has only dropped by 3 bars in half as long again. That's a definite improvement.

The e-mail client still doesn't use the "destinations" feature. You can only set it to use a given access point to connect to a mailbox. Thankfully, SmartConnect is included in the firmware, so you can get around the problem by using that. It didn't work with V31. BirdStep had to provide a patch to get it working. I don't know if the new version works or not on its own since the patch from BirdStep is still installed on my E72 after the update to V31.

Reading the Nokia Support Discussions forum, you will hear about various problems that people say that they have had. Among the problems I've seen, there are:

I don't see the names of people calling me, only the number.

It's unlikely that that happened since the update. Read here.

The phone has become unstable and never stops crashing.

This is the same as any update on any phone. The usual things to try are to clear the phone's settings (*#7780#) or to attempt a re-install of the firmware.

I can't zoom into pictures using the gallery, only using the file manager.

Can't say I've noticed this. I just tried to do just that and the zoom works fine in the gallery.

Received calls are no longer logged!

Can't say I've noticed this either. They are logged on my handset.

This and many other problems reported can most likely be solved in the same way as the general instability problem.

In short, the update is positive, I think, but I fail to understand why a whole major version has been skipped. The changes made do not justify such a version jump in my opinion.

6 comments:

Bodhi said...

Great writeup - very helpful.

Bodhi said...

Here's a problem that I notice - The phone is neither vibrating nor playing the message alert tone when I receive a text message.

Any idea about this?

RR said...

@ Bodhi:

Try changing the memory used to your text messages. That happens when you're storing sms's in the memory card.

tswetozar said...

E series with no decent ADOBE LE is useless

G. Stewart said...

@tswetozar:

I wouldn't go as far as saying that the downgrade to Adobe LE V1.5 renders the E72 useless, but it is something that Nokia shouldn't have done.

amielDH said...

any update on the "no vibration and message alert tone"? im still having a hard time on deciding whether to update my E72 to V51..hope to hear from you..thanks..