January 10, 2008

N95 8GB & N73 ME Firmware Updates Available!

Here's something you don't see very often -- Nokia's been really stepping on the gas in releasing newer firmware updates for their phones lately. A new year's resolution, perhaps? For example, just a couple of days ago, they made available version 15.0.015 of the flagship N95 8GB's firmware. To top that off, they released version 4.0750.31.2.1 of the N73 Music Edition's (ME) firmware some days later. Talk about being on a roll.

According to initial reports, the latest set of updates to hit both these phones is more of a speed boost than anything else -- nonetheless, a very welcome addition indeed, given how lethargic the S60 platform can be.

Let's talk about the N95 8GB first. News is that the newer firmware substantially improves the speed of accessing the device's colossal 8GB of flash memory. Apart from that, several under-the-hood changes have been made that have resulted in a faster and thankfully, more responsive, Gallery & Search as well as stability improvements for the Browser as well as WLAN. Plus, they've also thrown in Flashlite 3 and even made night-mode improvements to the Camera. Amazing, isn't it? The N95 8GB, after all these improvements, might just be the device everyone's looking for. If you haven't updated your device software yet, you definitely should.

Anyway, since I don't have a spare one lying around (it's already on my wishlist), I'll just continue with my ramblings on the N73 ME's latest firmware.

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Just like the N95 8GB's latest firmware, v4.0750.31.2.1 for the N73 ME fixes a myriad of issues that have plagued the device for quite some time now. More importantly, it makes the phone much, much faster.

Although I haven't taken any pictures yet for verification, according to reports, Nokia seem to have made night-mode improvements to the Camera here, too. This, if true, is something that was much-needed. Although the N73 ME has a top-of-the-line (though not exactly cutting-edge) 3.2 Megapixel camera that performs exceptionally well in most cases, night-mode shots aren't its speciality by a long shot. The main reason, ofcourse, being the blue-haze or bluish-tint problem that is evident on pictures taken under night-mode. On the other hand, day-time shots are perfect and easily comparable to typical point-and-shoots.

Moving on, perhaps one of the most notable changes is in the overall menu navigation speed. Make no mistake, Nokia have absolutely done a brilliant job here. Not only is the phone much snappier now, slowdowns and memory-leaks have completely disappeared too!

To verify, I timed how long it took for various elements (e.g Menu, Contacts etc) to load before and after the firmware upgrade under identical conditions. Results are as shown below.

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The column on the right (in bold) lists the times for the latest firmware, whereas the one on the left are for its predecessor. You can immediately spot the differences. The latest firmware, undoubtedly, has made the phone much faster and overall navigation a breeze. Moreover, note that the Camera starting times are virtually unchanged in both cases.

Another area where there's been a substantial improvement is in the amount of available memory for use. With typical use, previously the amount of free RAM available for apps used to hover around 10-11MB. Remarkably, that figure has shot upto 12.5-13MB with the upgrade. What's interesting is the fact that Symbian-Freak is reporting the implementation of Demand Paging with this new firmware, which only goes to confirm the much-improved memory handling capabilities. Note that this isn't the same as the memory available to the user after startup. Think of this as under load conditions :)

All in all, I honestly think that if you own an N73 ME and haven't updated yet, you should definitely get this upgrade without any hesitation whatsoever. It's available free of charge via the Nokia Software Updater. Click here to get it.


NEo said...

Awsome news, hope N73 Classic will get the same treatment and i don't see why not since its the same hardware, come on Nokia im waiting.

Taha M said...

Hey Neo! Yeah, it definitely should, especially since these two are very popular handsets. It's great to see Nokia continue to release updates so regularly.

Anonymous said...

Nokia software update says it is 4.0736.3.2.1 is the latest update. Where did u get this update from? My phone is updated to 4.0736.3.2.1 but when i read this article i immediately connected to update my phone firmware. But it says phone has been upto the date.

Taha M said...

That probably has to do with the fact that Nokia have currently offered the upgrade for certain regions / countries only i.e. product codes vary for the same model handsets purchased from different regions.

You could always change your product code to one for which the update is available...but that would void any warranty that you may have.

The safest bet is to wait for a bit while they make the release globally available.

For further info, have a look here

alsiladka said...

Hey, mind letting us know how the hell did you measure the time to do those operations before and after the firmware upgrade.

I dont believe in the authenticity of those findings.

Taha M said...

I'm not asking you to believe anything. This is just my personal opinion about something I feel strongly for.

In any case, I timed using a stopwatch -- before and after the upgrade. The results i.e. the speed increase have also been confirmed by other sources, so I'm not the only one with these findings.

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