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Thoughts on the Nokia N97 v20 Update

October 30, 2009

In case you haven’t heard, the N97 received a v20 update. The update added more kinetic scrolling, upgraded the Maps and Music Player applications, dropped in an older version of Nokia Messaging (10.1.0.13), and improved memory/battery life. Sounds good, right?

While there are some nice improvements, in the end v20 isn’t the deal breaker that it was rumored to be. It won’t encourage more people to buy an N97, and nor will it have any sort of major impact on current N97 owners. But let’s go over some of the changes:

Kinetic scrolling is a welcome addition to the N97′s touch UI. It’s present in almost every menu – but strangely enough, not in the “new” version of Nokia Messaging (mine was downgraded from .14 to .13 – more on this later). I don’t really have anything to complain about – it works well for what it’s worth.

Nokia Maps and Music have both undergone some major changes. Maps has been updated with a snazzy new look and 3D map display capability, which essentially just tilts the viewing angle of the map to produce the 3D effect. Unfortunately, I found map scrolling to be pretty slow, and the fact that I still had to purchase a license for turn-by-turn directions left me going back to Google Maps. One thing to keep in mind: your old downloaded maps are incompatible with the new version.

Music Player, on the other hand, has been changed for the better. Kinetic scrolling has thankfully been added to song scrolling, as are album covers. Also, when scrolling using the scroll bar, the application pops up the current letter in the middle of the screen. Great feature. Overall, Music Player is fast and responsive. The only wonky thing that I found was tapping the album art in the Now Playing screen: it pops up the volume control on the side, for some reason.

I haven’t been able to really test out the new battery improvements, but from what I can tell it seems to last longer. Don’t know if this is due to the placebo effect.

What Wasn’t Changed

Threaded SMS. It’s there on the N900, and I can’t imagine it adding it to the N97 would be THAT huge of a deal. It’s just a change in the way messages are displayed.

Nokia Messaging is still a piece of crap. Sorry, but it’s true. No kinetic scrolling in the Inbox view, extremely slow scrolling, slow display of email meta data, and pretty much just slow everything. I quit using it.

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  • n97 says:

    hey mate something is wrong with your phone. Kinetic scrolling works everywhere except during message editing. That is because in that case the cursor is on text select mode. I wouldn’t quit this.



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