Nokia N80, Orange and firmware

As I’ve previously blogged, I currently have a Nokia N80 mobile phone on the Orange UK network.

The phone itself is fantastic, apart from a few things like short battery life and a tendency to run out of memory. Nokia have released a few firmware updates since the phone came out, the latest of which is version v4.0623.0.41 released on 26th July. According to people who have tried it over on AllAboutSymbian, with this firmware the phone is rock solid. In particular, it has fixed a problem with Bluetooth in which the phone dropped the Bluetooth connection after a few minutes. This was particularly annoying for users of Bluetooth GPS receivers.

Each network goes through the process of certifying each Nokia firmware release for their network, and possibly adding their own tweaks to it. For instance, Orange add a photo uploading application.

Now until recently, there have been two ways to upgrade the firmware of the phone: either take it to a Nokia Service Centre, or download some illegal cracked software and do it yourself. The latter route will invalidate your contract with the network for instance, and certainly would be picked up on if you had to return the phone for any reason. Upon release of the v4 firmware I took my phone to my local service centre and requested a re-flash of the firmware. It came back with version v3.0617.06, which whilst better than the original version, still has significant bugs compared to the v4 firmware.

The Nokia Service Centre software will only flash the phone to the latest level of firmware authorised by the network operator. The only way to get the v4 firmware would be to have a generic, unlocked version of the phone, or to take the illegal DIY route.

In the last few days, Nokia have added the N80 to the list of phones you can update yourself via the Phone Software Update page. However, reports suggest that like the service centres, it will only allow you to install firmware authorised by your network operator.

So, naturally you would hope that Orange would test the v4 firmware and authorise it for their phones? Well the answer appears to be no. Rumours are circulating that Orange have withdrawn the N80 from sale, and their web site seems to back this up. Now this could be due to the pending release of the N80 Internet Edition, but some people have been told that due to “software issues” Nokia are no longer supporting the N80. Does this mean that they won’t authorise the v4 firmware that by all accounts turns the N80 into a perfectly stable phone? Various reports of conversations with Orange customer services suggests this might be the case.

So, Orange appear on the face of it to be leaving their customers with a crippled phone, especially if you want to use it as a sat-nav device with a Bluetooth GPS receiver and software like Tom Tom Navigator 6 (which of course I won’t!) This leaves owners of Orange N80s who actually want a fairly bug free and fully functional phone with only one course of action: illegally use cracked software to update the firmware and risk invalidating your warranty with the operator and Nokia themselves.

All in all, not a very good situation. I was a customer of O2 for eight years before I switched to Orange to get the N80. I have to say at the moment I’m regretting that move, and it doesn’t seem like I’m getting much service for my £55/month. It has to be said that neither O2 or Three have yet provided the v4 firmware to their customers, but at least in the case of O2 they still seem to be selling the phone.

5 thoughts on “Nokia N80, Orange and firmware

  1. Well mate have been onto orange about this. They have dumped the N80 due to all the general problems. This does mean they willnot be bringing v4 of firmware. A mate of mine does have version 4 and it sorts out all the problems. So orange suck….but hey i think i wil try an update to v4 anyway. Screw the warrenty…..as at he moment the phone doesnot work correctly. I think there is a good case to explain that i had to update as your software did not work !

    Another semi happy n80 customer……ahhhhhhhhh

  2. I did a DIY job on my Orange N80, and the phone is now dead. It seemed as if at about 20% the USB connection dropped. The connection seemed to rectify itself and the update continued, but at the end of the process the phone was dead.

    Took the Phone into a Nokia Service Centre today. They said they will take a look and quote, hopefully tomorrow.

    Although it seems many people are sucessful with this, I was not. I know for sure that the cables were tightly pushed in and untouched.

    I am desparate to get V4 because the phone will not work with the Nokia Bluetooth GPS Receiver for more than about 3 minutes, making it useless.

    If my N80 can be repaired, I am not sure what to do if they will only reflash to V3 :(.

  3. Pingback: v4 firmware for Orange Nokia N80s available « Drive Through…

  4. I tried to update my Three branded N80, two days ago, via the Nokia Website – mine too was unsuccessful – Phone dead.

    Still trying to get three to replace the phone – it’s only 7 days old – they are only willing to take it back to try and repair it – something the Nokia Repair Centre has been unable to do!

    Love this phone, too!

  5. I’m a Orange UK customer & very happy with the service I have received from them. I’m on £30 Raccoon & get my Broadband Internet free as well. I’ve been with Orange for 6 months now & they’ve not let me down.

    I think before we point fingers as Orange, we got to have a closer look at Nokia. I think they are at fault for bringing out new phone models so soon before properly testing them to make sure that they are solid.

    I had a bit of hassle but nothing serious: Like everytime I turn my phone on, it connects to the internet automatically, it would just hang while I’m trying to play music for instance or just switch itself off.

    I have upgraded to V 4 yesterday using the Nokia website & my data cable & it was versy straight forward, although the download is about 75mb in size. But that’s Symbian for you. Sacrifice speed for functionality.

    One thing I wish they would fix is for the phone to work better with bigger memory cards because I have a 2GB, 150x speed mini sd card installed and it takes forever to access the card. I also wish there was a way to improve the battery life, like Apple did with the new Ipods. But like I said, sacrifice speed (and battery life) for Symbian functionality.

    Now I don’t have to go out in the cold weather to the Nokia Service Centre, because I can do it within the comfort of my own home. For now I’m happy & looking forward to the next firmware release. (if there is one)

    Just to end off, I’d like to shout out to both Orange & Nokia: All we ask for them is to be honest when we ask them why this & why that & not tell us just NO. We are your paying customers & without US, you will not exist. They could both work on their customer service skills & AFTER SALES SERVICE.

    Good luck to everyone out there. PS: Don’t give up on the N80. I think to date it’s the best phone out there!

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