About a month ago, I wrote a post about firmware update wishlist for the N900. Last week, we had 2 firmware updates, a mini one and a big one. I’ll combine the observations of both in this post. The new firmware updates seems to have solved a few items on that list including:
2. Portrait mode:
- not complete throughout the UI but we now have portrait mode in Web Browser. It works well enough.
- Fast rotation
- Some web pages recognize the smaller width and refit accordingly
- Text automatically squeeze to portrait when double tapped (whilst in portrait)
- However, most web functions don’t work in portrait – you can only open links.
3. Ovi Maps
- some slight improvements, opens slightly faster (though still too slow for me) and a slightly improved interface.
- Places/Routing/Directions bar – this autohides.
6. Send text in call log
- before you could only call a person in the call log. Annoying when you missed a call because you were busy and could only text that person back because you were still busy. Now you can send messages to people in your call log.
28. Ovi Store
- Recently opened after the previous mini OTA firmware
- Available through ovi store app icon (though it justs opens up a web page as opposed to an actual Ovi Store App.)
- Ovi Store (mobile version over web) is optimized though for touch.
- Some nice apps, themes and games on there. Angry Birds has been a big hit.
36. Getting contacts from other services
I’m not sure if this wasn’t already available but you can “Get contacts” from Ovi, skype, google talk, jabber and SIP. No facebook though (which is probably most useful for picking up phone numbers for me)
37. Bluetooth Progress bar
-Before on previous fw, all you knew was that files were being sent over bluetooth. Now there’s an animated progress bar so you know how much has been sent/left to send.
There’s a huge changelog available [click here] but what I’m able to confirm and make observations on are:
- Phone feels faster overall, although that maybe a trick in the mind.
- Media Player homescreen widget has minimal delay when playing a song when music player is not yet initiated. [On old firmware, it waited before opening the music player. Now it can play the last played track (and subsequently skip tracks) with minimal delay]
- Camera Zoom is much smoother – no obvious jumpy steps like on old firmware
- Videos open much faster. (on old firmware, some videos look as long as 5 seconds to open. Now they all pretty much open within 1-2 seconds)
- Resuming videos is much faster
- Frame rate has improved (possibly due to improved codec support?) On old firmware, some videos that stuttered in the beginning or had random artifacts like lines running through it now play absolutely fine. Some action fliks I’ve got on the N900 seem to be playing back at full frame rate – all the movement seems fluid.
- Audio is synced with[imported] Video properly (on old firmware, some videos had a minor delay in audio sync but that’s pretty much gone)
- Email seems to be faster (Nokia Messaging). Although I would like to just jump into my inbox when opening email app instead of having to go through a few steps before hand.
- Gallery is faster as producing thumbnails
- Hardware volume buttons active when watching YouTube video in full screen.
- Recorded video seems smoother. Not sure if the frame drop issue had been sorted as I didn’t notice it in my videos.
It’s a very excellent job overall by the Maemo Team, smoothing over the N900s features, enhancing that overall user experience with Maemo 5. I was especially surprised by the improved video playback of Xvid/DivX videos.
There are still a few features I’d like to see in the next firmware update [see the full list - currently 47 items]
- Long press for secondary symbol activation. Possibly within 0.75-0.5 seconds to activate secondary keys.
- Category management of video gallery still needs attention. Perhaps give us tabs at the top to switch between recorded from phone and films instead of endlessly scrolling?
- Rotate to call mode still slow
- long press for