On 18 August 2011, Nokia released the long-awaited Anna update for their Symbian^3 smartphones including the N8. The update includes the following:
- an updated user interface (with crisp new icons),
- virtual QWERTY keypad in portrait mode,
- split-screen messaging,
- enhanced Nokia Maps (v3.06),
- a faster, easier-to-use browser and
- stronger security with improved data encryption.
For more information, visit Nokia’s website. Anna represents the latest software version (PR2.0 or 022.014), an update of your N8’s current firmware release (PR1.2 or 014.002). The new firmware is between 80 to 128 Mb and can be downloaded using your PC or Over-The-Air (OTA). However, please note that the full ROM image is over 290 Mb in size. It is highly recommended you update via a PC and NOT over the air. This is even more important if your phone’s WiFi connection (via 3G or a WiFi router) is not fast and stable. Furthermore, if you use your phone’s 3G connection to update the software, you may have to pay data charges. Hence, it’s usually faster and cheaper to use your PC’s internet connection to obtain the update.
Please note that the update is not yet available in all countries including South Africa. It was first released in key European and Asian markets including the UK, France, Russia, Indonesia, China and India, with additional countries to follow over the next three weeks. Visit this All About Symbian forum to see if the Anna update is available for your product code (dial *#0000# to obtain your phone’s product code). You can also visit Nokia Support Discussions.
Connect your N8 via a USB cable to a PC and run Nokia OVI Suite. Make sure you connect in Nokia OVI Suite mode, then click Tools -> Software updates. Select the option to backup your phone before the update begins. The phone will automatically restart after the update has completed (approximately 20 minutes). Thereafter, install any application updates. Hence, the Anna update is in two parts.
The first part updates the Symbian operating system to version 022 and is about 27 Mb in size (referred to as Symbian Anna update 1/2). The second part updates certain applications including the OVI Store and Social Networking clients, QuickOffice, Adobe Reader as well as Nokia Maps (referred to as Symbian Anna update 2/2). In addition, the latest versions of Qt (4.7.3) and Qt Mobility (1.1.3) are installed, as well as FlashLite 4 and Java Runtime 2.2. For the N8, the update also prepares the phone for extra camera features which is rolled out as a separate application update (an updated version is available here). Hence, the second part of the update (e.e. application updates) is responsible for the large file downloads.
The Anna update is not without its fair share of installation hiccups. Hence, I find it very puzzling to read Nokia Support and Nokia Conversations where N8 owners become most agitated because the update is not yet available in their country. Personally, I’m only too happy to wait whilst Nokia frantically sorts out all the little glitches. For example, some users are experiencing problems with Conversations and the split screen plus portrait QWERTY keyboard.
I was amused to read in the forums that some users check every hour to see if the Anna update is available for their phone in their country. OVI Suite uses a 24-hour cache, which means the application will only connect directly to the Nokia update servers once every 24 hours. This prevents the Nokia update servers from being “overloaded” by impatient users who continually check for the Anna update. If you use your phone (and not OVI Suite) to check for updates (dial *#0000#, Options -> Check for updates), advance your phone’s date to the end of the month to “clear” the cache (Don’t forget to correct the date after the check).
In some countries, Nokia must wait for cellular operators to finish testing the update before it can be released by the Nokia servers. This certainly applies to Vodacom in South Africa, who take much longer to check the update than does MTN. This became evident in the PR1.2 update in April 2011 (read my older PR1.2 update for my Nokia N8 blog). It is easy to understand why Vodacom take this cautious/thorough approach in order to prevent their call centres from being flooded by unhappy customers.
Some N8 owners have experienced problems with the applications update of Anna (Anna update 2/2). A summary of the forum posts points the blame to the Nokia update servers which are not coping with the large number of simultaneous update requests. Nokia also experienced a power failure on the 18 August 2011 which no doubt added to their server woes. Nokia recommends the following:
- Use Nokia OVI Suite and NOT the Nokia Software Updater (NSU) to obtain the Anna update (NSU cannot install the application updates).
- The Symbian Anna update is a large download, so for speed and reliability, the Ovi Suite method is best.
- FYI: In the UK and Germany, it is not possible to receive the Anna update over-the-air. Operators in these countries didn’t want the large update being pushed out over their networks, presumably for capacity and/or cost reasons.
- Nokia has fixed some QT dependency issues that caused some issues with the Anna update. This affects users who have Nokia Bubbles or Nokia BigScreen installed that came with a certain QT version) could not see or install Symbian Anna 1/2 and 2/2 properly.
- Nokia is aware of certain Anna update issues using Ovi Suite. They recommend trying an over-the-air update, as long as you have a strong and reliable WiFi connection.
After trolling the various Nokia discussion and support forums including this one, I recommend searching for posts by user Skyee, a Nokia employee named Yvonne. She is responsible for the suggestions mentioned above. I also recommend the following before attempting the Anna update:
- Update OVI Maps to at least version 3.06 (via the OVI store), but preferably to version 3.08 beta (via Nokia BetaLabs). Please refer to my previous post for additional information.
- Since OVI Maps version 3.06 is included in the Anna update, a “manual” update should help prevent Anna install issues. The Anna update will skip application updates that are already at the same or higher version.
After installing part 1/2 and 2/2 of the Anna update, don’t forget to update the Nokia N8 camera apllication found here. Lastely, you may want to also check out the Official Nokia N8 thread at mybroadband.co.za (refer to posts after 17 August 2011).