Software Update v.3.28 for the Nokia E71x and modest Improvements to Ovi Maps

So, after using the ATT Tilt phone for awhile (read less than 2 months), I went back to using the Nokia E71x phone. Why? For starters, I discovered that I did *not* become more productive primarily because of the slide-out keyboard which is a good idea in theory, but not in practice. Secondly, for whatever reason, there was NO way I could turn off the touchscreen option in the ATT Tilt phone when making a phone call so a lot of times, my phone calls ended rather abruptly because I’d accidentally hit the “End” button. *sigh*

Needless to say, I was very nervous about returning to the Symbian 60 platform. I remembered very clearly how much installing Ovi Maps was a PITA (pain in the ass), but I decided to brave the headwinds (so to speak). It is my pleasure to report that times have changed with the installation of Ovi Maps to this phone and I’d like to go over some improvements that I’ve experienced since the time I dumped the E71x for ATT Tilt and now.

A quick summary of this post:

  1. No need to go through all the drama of this post anymore. Using Ovi Suite and your USB cord, Ovi Maps 3.0 will install just fine on your phone.
  2. Firmware updates are out for the Nokia E71 and E71x phone. It’s version 3.28 for the Nokia E71x and I’ve installed it on my phone. It works fine, I haven’t noticed any major UI changes and sadly, GPS fixes are still just as slow. Sorry! I don’t have a data plan with ATT so don’t fret if you don’t have a data plan either.

e71x-updatedfirmware.png
e71xdeets.png

  • Previously, I used the Nokia PC Suite software for synchronizing, editing, saving my contacts/appointments/tasks, etc. It worked fine, but I remember reading online that Nokia was pushing the Ovi Suite as a more streamlined way doing the above tasks. So, I recently reinstalled Windows 7 on my laptop and instead of installing the Nokia PC Suite software, I installed the Nokia Ovi Suite software. One of the first things that it did was alert me that the software on my Nokia E71x was out-of-date. Whoa!! If you recall, the version shipped with the E71x is v. 3.27 and the Ovi Suite software told me there was v. 3.28 available to upgrade. Now, I’m not crazy, but the thought of doing firmware upgrades on my phone makes me queasy because so. many. things. can go wrong. Before I go on, I’d like to share my story of how I successfully installed this update:
    • First, find out what firmware version you are running because these instructions are for the E71x phones with version 3.27. If you are already syncing with the Ovi Suite software, then check the “Updates” tab and you’ll be told what software version your phone is running. Another way to find out what firmware version you’re running (in Windows 7) is to go to your “Devices and Printers” section and rightclick on the “E71x” device and check the properties tab which also tells you your IMEI number. You will have to have connected your E71x phone in either Mass Storage mode or Image transfer mode to get the E71x” device to show up which is different from the phone
    • Second, please plug your charger into your phone. This is a long-ish process and you don’t want to be running out of battery life or else you’ll end up with a nice coaster
    • Third (and possible most important) Please backup your phone. You can use the Ovi suite software to do this. If you haven’t connected your phone to your PC at all, then install the Ovi Suite software first and follow the instructions to connect your phone via USB. If you’ve already connected your phone to your PC and are using the Nokia PC Suite software, feel free to download the Ovi Suite software and completely uninstall the Nokia PC Suite software. Again, please make sure you have a backup of ALL your phone’s data using the Ovi Suite software. It creates a .nbu file holding the image of your phone’s files. In addition to backing up my phone, I usually export my contact and appointments from Microsoft Outlo0k 2007 just to be on the safe side.
    • Click on the “Updates” tab and you’ll be instructed not to panic if your Windows PC shows your phone connecting and disconnecting rapidly. At one point, the driver installation process appears to have stalled and I simply removed my battery, removed my charger, remove the USB cord and rebooted the phone. After, I put the phone back together (battery, charger and USB cord into the computer), I hit the “retry” button or whatever it instructs you to do after rebooting the phone. Whatever you do, don’t panic if you see an image like this:e71x-firmware.png
    • Long story short, if you feel the installation has stalled, remove the usb plug from your phone, remove battery and charger. Put those items back in and restart the installation.

    So once I updated my phone’s software, I rebooted the Nokia E71x and began the process of synchronizing my contacts/appointments/texts etc with Microsoft Outlook 2007. Here’s what my device manager says about the firmware update:

    Software version: V 03.28
    Software version date: 17-08-09
    Custom version: PI01.01
    Custom version date: 08-18-09
    Language set: 6000.01
    ModeL E71x
    Type: RM-462

    Overall, my return to the E71x hasn’t been too bad. I don’t miss accidentally hanging up calls as I did with the ATT Tilt phone which (shockingly) didn’t have an option to deactivate the touchscreen feature while in a call. Anyway, enjoy and feel free to browse my series of posts about the Nokia E71x through the “Nokia E71x” tag .

My bittersweet relationship with the Nokia E71x, part 1

So, it’s been months now and I can honestly say this about the Nokia E71x phone (pros and cons):

  1. It’s a great starter QWERTY device. I love the keyboard layout and the fact that the @ symbol does not need the shift button to be depressed (you’d be dismayed at how often device manufacturers put extra hoops for you to access this all important symbol). I came from my Palm Treo 750 device which I loved so I was sorta of used to the feel of the keys and I didn’t have a problem with the keys being too small.
  2. Out of the box, it comes with a lot of ATT craplets which (to be fair) are meant to be used through ATT’s data connection. If you signed up for this phone as an upgrade or a new line, chances are you had to pay $30 for the data plan. Don’t ask me how I managed to dodge that bullet, but suffice it to say that I would NOT have purchased this phone if I had to have the data plan. The take home message is: you can get more user-friendly phones for the price you’re paying.
  3. If you purchased this phone to use the built-in GPS properties, save your time and money because my experience with the Nokia Maps software has not been positive. It is worth noting that the Nokia E71x device is not officially supported by Nokia Maps. Thus, it is quite tedious and a bit daunting to install by yourself. The entire idea of the E71x phone was to bring the E71 (worldwide version) to the USA market and thusly, the name E71x. I should also note that ATT preloaded the E71x with their own drive/navigation software which requires another subscription fee. By all accounts, the ATT Navigator software is quite good, but it is NOT available if you don’t have an ATT data plan. the take away is: skip the pain and purchase the E71 phone which is free of ATT’s crippled applications.
  4. My disappointment in the Nokia/Ovi Maps software has been the biggest turnoff for me with this phone. As of today, I’ve uninstalled the Maps application because it royally blows on the E71x. I mean, how hard is it to tell the application to take me from point A to point B? At one point, I had a sneaking suspicion that Ovi Maps had my starting location ‘stuck’ as both the start and end point!! To test my growing suspicion, I decided that I was going to follow the Ovi Map directions strictly. Well, whaddaya know? We ended up right where we started! I would definitely recommend that you do NOT depend on Ovi Maps on the Nokia E71x phone in an emergency. It takes at least 10 minutes or more to get a GPS fix so it’s useless for spontaneous joy rides. I’m officially looking for another alternative software for drive navigation on my E71x. This time, I’ll make sure that the software is 100% compatible with the Nokia E71x phone. Handango’s InHand mobile app recommends the Wayfinder Navigator North America, but I’m not dropping down the asking price of $109 until I read some concrete reviews of the application itself.
  5. Emoze, which is a push email application, can’t handle attachments. Shock and awe! I didn’ t know this until a commenter asked me about it. Sure enough, Emoze could not send a test message and an attachment to save its life. I downloaded Profimail to give it a whirl and I was instantly turned off by the black/white interface. It makes me wish that app developers thought like Apple developers do. Give software some color and soft edges. It makes a world of difference to your software’s usability!
  6. The available twitter clients for E71x are Twittix and Gravity. Save your money and buy Gravity. After suffering in silence with Twittix, I decided to give Gravity a try and I fell in love! His application has color (yes!), it does not require a thousand click (yes!!) and I actually get shit done on it! This app is simply beautiful and it makes living with my Nokia E71x device worthwhile. 🙂 It’s awesomeness is more apparently if you use touch phone. Check this review of the Gravity application out!
  7. For medical professionals, there are a plethora of applications for things like drug interactions, manuals of medicine, etc. Being the curious kitten that I am, I obtained the Mosby’s Nursing Drug reference and the Harrison’s Manual of Medicine. It’s safe to say that I’ll soon become a repository of random trivia about the human body and random drug interactions. The user interface could do with some work, but then again, we are talking about a QWERTY device and not a fancy pants touch screen device. 🙂

I wish I could say I’ve never been happier with this phone, but that would be a lie. Sadly. I’ve got all the applications I thought I’d need so what more do I want? Plain and simple, I am bored with this phone. I thought I’d always be a keyboard/QWERTY girl for life, but I’m a bit tired of peering at small screens. So, my issue is not with the E71x per se, but the fact that I want bigger screen ‘real estate’

PPS: In line with my wish for bigger screen, I’ve purchased a used ATT/HTC Tilt phone!

Update on Nokia/Ovi Maps on my Nokia E71x

The visits to my posts about installing Nokia Maps 3.0 on the Nokia E71x phone have been nothing short of amazing! Hopefully, I’ll get some return visitors and we can have a great conversation going on this little blog. I have a couple of comments on the Ovi Maps (.sis file) service and things/quirks I have noticed from my usage. Before all of that, here are some things that might help in getting the best out of Nokia/Ovi Maps on your device:

  1. Make sure you have the latest version of the Nokia PC suite software, Nokia maps updater, and the map uploader software.
  2. If for whatever reason, you can’t get the maps to download via the Map loader software, check out this site which has links that point directly at the maps files on Nokia’s servers here: http://diabo.freehostia.com/symbian/indexmaps.htm As always, caveat emptor when downloading links from external sites posted here. 🙂
  3. Also, you might want to consider uninstalling the Maps Updater and Maps Loader software entirely and re-installing them if you run into issues about the Maps initialization failure, etc. It appears to have worked for the guy in this thread.

On to the rest of the post, if you downloaded the Ovi Maps software hoping for free Drive Navigation, you are wrong as I found out. Now, I don’t blame them as they have to make money somehow. However, you can get drive navigation on your device by purchasing a license from Nokia. Thankfully, the purchasing process is painless i.e. either online or at designated retail locations. For buying the license(s) online (a.k.a. on your device), all you need to do is: (i) Have your credit/debit card ready (ii) Fire up your Nokia maps application and go online if it asks you. (iii) Select “Options” and select “shop & licenses”. It should then automatically update with the latest offerings that Nokia has to offer. (iv) Follow the prompts and tada! I opted to purchase drive navigation and it cost $64.05 including taxes. Be aware that it actually charges your card in foreign currency so you will be hit with transaction charges by your bank. Thankfully, we’re talking about less than $1 with my bank, Wachovia (acquired by) Wells-Fargo so double-check with your bank. I have found the Drive Navigation to be pretty accurate and I actually prefer it to the Garmin XT software I had previously used with my Palm Treo 750 device! As always, configure the options to suit you such as making it take the shortest route (mileage-wise) versus the fastest route which might result in your taking random roads/alleys, etc. 🙂

The second purchase I opted to make was for the City Explorer which is supposed to act like someone giving you directions using landmarks in the city you are in and is tailored for someone who is … walking and not driving. 🙂 I haven’t had a chance to use it much, but I will update this post when I do. The third license I decided to try out was Traffic info and I can honestly say that this doesn’t do much, but tell me when I’m going over the speed limit. I live in an area where traffic congestion is not a huge issue. Thankfully (yet again), the license cost less than $12 for a year of service and I don’t intend to renew. If you have a data plan, it might make sense for you to be constantly updated on live traffic and it also allows re-routing of your trip to avoid traffic jams. If you only get online via WiFi, you will lose out on this useful feature for jampacked areas like San Francisco, etc. Guides is exactly like it sounds, but I’d advise you to only get this is you are sight-seeing in a new town, etc. It’s just another way to get more money out of you. 😀 Lastly, pricing for these items is also available on the <a href=”http://europe.nokia.com/explore-services/maps/prices_and_coverage/pricing-tables-navigable”>Nokia website</a>.

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