Anna update finally arrives for product code 059D2N9!


Exactly three weeks after the announcement to roll-out the Anna update on 18 August 2011, product code 059D2N9 (Nokia N8 – Vodacom SA) finally received the update on 8 September. After reading all the problems N8 owners were experiencing with the Anna update, I decided to play it safe and only attempt the upgrade late that night when the Nokia update servers were hopefully relatively quite.

Before the update, I used NetQin’s Mobile Guard Boot Manager to disable a number of applications which automatically start up on my N8. These include SlideUnlock, JbakTaskMan, Track & Protect, SPB Shell 3D, SPB Wireless Monitor, SMS Preview, VLingo, SmartLight, Nokia Big Screen and Whatsapp. This was done to help prevent possible update problems and to free up memory and processor resources to maximise the probability of a clean, trouble-free Anna update.

I also uninstalled Nokia Big Screen which initially caused problems with the Anna update due to Qt library version issues. I would also recommend uninstalling Nokia Bubbles for the same reason.  Similarly, I would urge you to manually upgrade Nokia Maps to at least version 3.06, but preferably v3.08 beta, before attempting the Anna update. Lastly, I uninstalled the N8 multiple mods obtained from this website to once again help ensure a smooth update with no hiccups.

I restarted the phone and began the Anna update over-the-air (OTA) using a WiFi link to my ADSL router and not via a 3G connection to Vodacom. I selected the OTA update option simply because the update files are much smaller in size (~60 Mb) than compared to the ~275 Mb download via Nokia OVI Suite (or via the Nokia Software Updater). In addition, users in the Nokia Discussion forums have complained about changes to language settings if you update via PC (Ovi Suite or NSU) as opposed to OTA.

The Symbian^3 update (part 1/2 of Anna) downloaded (27 Mb in total) and the phone restarted to begin the installation. This step went smoothly and the progress bar provides visual feedback regarding this vital upgrade step. The phone then rebooted without any problems to finalise the Symbian^3 update. The applications update (part 2/2 of Anna) then downloaded (16 Mb in size) and began installing. During this upgrade, I began to think the update process had “hung” as there was no visual indication of progress being made. I decided to run JbakTaskMan which confirmed the Installer task was indeed running in the background. Part 2 (applications update) took much longer to install compared to Part 1 (OS update), so I recommend being patient during this step. Next, I selected the OVI Store update which the Installer initially indicated was a 14 Mb download. Once the Installer realised the installed Qt libraries (~13 Mb download) were already up to date, the OVI Store application was quickly updated after only a 1568 Kb download. Finally, I selected the Social update (3415 Kb) which completed the entire Anna update in just over 20 minutes.

Using Mobile Guard’s Boot Manager, I re-enabled the auto-start of all the applications I had disabled before attempting the Anna update. I also noticed two new tasks which are set to auto-start, namely WRT Service Providers and Microsoft Communicator (I will investigate these further in the near future). I then restarted the N8 and was prompted to re-enter my Nokia account username and password to automatically sign into OVI Store. I ran the updated OVI Store app to re-install Nokia Big Screen which I had previously uninstalled before the update to again prevent possible issues.

It was now time to check out the Anna update! First on the radar was the updated web browser which did not dissapoint my expectations. There is a noticeable speed improvement in web page loading and the new user interface is intuitive and much easier to use (especially when accessing stored bookmarks). The ability to load multiple web pages (i.e. tabs) is an awesome new feature. However, the new web browser still lacks Opera Mobile’s handy features to view your browsed history and saved web pages.

Next, I tested the portrait QWERTY keyboard in Nokia Conversations. As reported by other users, I too have an issue with the size of each key in portrait mode. I noticed that I would probably use the portrait keyboard to write short messages, but switch to the landscape keyboard when typing out long messages or when I need to type quickly. The Delivery Reports folder under Messaging is handy as it keeps track of when SMSs are delivered to recipients. To enable this feature, select Messaging, then Options -> Settings -> Text message -> Receive report -> Set to yes.

I rely heavily on Nokia PC Suite (version 7.1.40.1) to manage my calendar entries, especially for business-related appointments and To-Do tasks. I am not a fan of storing my calendar in the “cloud” (i.e. using Google Calendar or OVI Calendar), nor using MS Outlook as my Personal Information Manager (PIM) and Nokia OVI Suite for calendar syncing. One of the biggest improvements I have found is the speed at which Nokia PC Suite is able to add new calendar entries and edit previous events. For me, this improvement together with the web browser update and new QWERTY portrait keyboard made Anna well worth the frustrating three week wait.

I also tested the camera functionality and Bluetooth connectivity to my work PC as well as the issue regarding Caller’s number and not their name displaying if the number is prefixed with the international dialing code. The FM transmitter (now called Play via Radio) also works fine. I personally don’t have any issues with the new icons, because I have starting using SPB’s new Shell 3D user interface for Symbian^3 devices (the topic of my next blog!). Its too soon to comment on battery draining issues, although I have noticed new tasks running in the background called Search, Communicator and qtAppBooster which I need to investigate further.

To conclude, I see there is an update for OVI Suite from version 3.1.185 to 3.1.1.95 which deals with important fixes for calendar syncing with Symbian Anna phones as well as important fixes for device software updating.  The download is only 1.6 Mb in size and is obviously recommended before attempting the Anna update via OVI Suite.

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