Ludicrous Software

Fun With Firmware!

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that one of the neat things about mobile software development is being an early adopter: getting your hands on the coolest new phones as soon as possible after they’re released. In Canada, this typically means going with unlocked phones from other countries, because Rogers, our GSM monopolist, seems determined to not carry phones until they’ve been around for a year (or more!).

The downside of this is stuff like what I’ve just been through trying to upgrade the firmware on my unlocked Nokia 5800. The new v20 firmware for the 5800 has been out for quite a while, and I finally got around to installing it on my phone. However, trying to install the firmware via both Nokia Software Updater and Firmware Over-The-Air resulted in me being told that my phone, with v11 firmware, was up-to-date. A dastardly lie!

According to the product code on my phone, the device was intended for Malaysia, and some Googling confirmed that the v20 update should be available. But I also found reports of people in Malaysia having problems installing the firmware, and some recommendations to change the product code to a region for which the update was definitely available (along with the standard warnings about how this will void the warranty on your device). So I figured this is what I should try to do.

In the process, I discovered that the product code on my phone had already been changed, such that my 5800 thought it was from Hong Kong, not Malaysia. I assume that this was a product of the original unlocking, but was also causing some unintended problems (e.g. one method of changing the product code that I found on-line simply couldn’t find my phone). I followed these instructions to change my product code, which worked perfectly well for me (but Use At Your Own Risk; I take no responsibility for bricked phones!). Once that was done, Nokia Software Updater finally found my update, and I now have v20 firmware on my device.

The firmware upgrade process itself was wonderfully painless, but man was getting to that point ever a pain in the butt!