Nokia upgrades: Symbian Belle for the N8 and MeeGo PR1.2 Harmattan for N9

, posted: 16-Apr-2012 14:51

I still use the Nokia N8, even though it really didn't bowl me over with the original version of Symbian ^3 installed. Flashing the phone with Symbian Anna made it much more usable, and a while ago, I spotted Symbian Belle and upgraded the N8.

Belle doesn't fix things like the N8 screen being that bit too small and not having high enough resolution, or the 600MHz processor running out of steam every now and then, but again, it's a worthwhile upgrade that makes the device much nicer to use. Performance is improved, and battery life seems better too. The user interface has been tidied up a huge amount, with better fonts, nicer icons and with many of the multi-screen text entry dialogs replaced by simpler and more direct entry boxes. There's also a handy pull-down menu at the top of the screen with buttons for mobile data, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and phone silent switches. It's rudimentary, but useful.

Below, some screen shots of Belle's new screens:


That's the Home, Applications, Music Player, the slightly odd Power and Wi-Fi on/off one, and the Contacts/Favourites screens.

The screen shot app that I used won't capture the on-screen keyboards but. the portrait one has tiny buttons. Too small for my fingers. Typing in landscape orientation works fine though but for some people, the small text and UI elements will be tricky to use.

Now, the Nokia N9 got an over the air upgrade too recently, to MeeGo PR1.2 Harmattan (and don't start arguing about the name; that's what Nokia calls it, so that's the name I'll use). I won't post any screen shots of that upgrade, as the there's nothing much new on the user interface front. One thing I noticed had gone was the swipe-up gesture to close apps. It's been replaced by a long press that displays a red cross with which you can kill things.

Unfortunately, PR1.2 feels like a step backwards. It has made the N9 slow and unresponsive and a pain to use. The Fenix mail app takes so long to respond that the OS thinks it's hung and pops up a close dialog. This used to happen every now and then with PR1.1 but not each time I used the mail app, and certainly not for other apps on the N9.

I tried wiping the settings on the N9, but it didn't make a difference. Annoyingly enough, there's a security code set on the device that I don't know what it is, so I can't factory reset it to see if that clears things up. One day when I feel more patient I'll try flashing the N9 manually, but it's a real shame it's become so sluggish as it was a favourite phone.

Anyone else finding that PR1.2 slows down your N9?

Other related posts:
Yes, this iPod still works
Samsung Galaxy Tab so good Apple wants it banned?
Symbian Anna on Nokia N8

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