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Monday, July 09, 2007

Branded like cattle

 I was quite excited last week when my newly subscribed N95 related RSS feeds heralded the release of a new firmware version for the phone. Coolest amongst the implemented changes was "Assisted GPS", which if the little reading I did on the subject is correct, allows the phone to first utilize the cellular network to triangulate an approximate location, and then use that to get a satellite lock more quickly than it would have otherwise. What it also means is that if no satellite is available (say, when you are indoors), the cell-network-only location can be used for geotagging! As it turns out, there was an update in April as well, and this included better camera quality and performance. Needless to say, I quickly downloaded the software I would need for the update and hooked up my phone.

And that's where Vodafone came into the picture and screwed things up. Apparently, when a manufacturer releases a new (generic) firmware version, it is sent off to all the networks that have their own branded versions of the device, and they re-brand it and send it back to be made available on the manufacturer's download service. Not only has Vodaphone/Vodacom not managed to get the new version (12) out yet -which would be understandable considering how new it is- they have not even managed to get the previous version (11) out! Again, this was released in April!

It is possible for an N95 owner to fiddle the system, basically they have to hack the product version of their phone to a generic one, and then the Nokia software will make the new firmware available. Of course this voids the warrantee-which is not something you want to do on a ten grand phone!

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Craig said...

Yeah Vodacom is a pain. Drop me an e-mail as there is a free way to get around this annoyance and debrand the phone.

Flint said...

You mean changing the product code?
That'll void my warrantee, which I'm not too keen on.


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