There are many people quick to jump all over Nokia, suppliers of the maemo-based n900. But today they’ve neatly shown that somewhere in that vast empire they employ a psychologist or two.
For several weeks there have been rumblings of the First Big Update being on the way. It was always hoped (and I suspect was intended) that this would happen before Christmas. But that was when the device was supposed to be released in October.
So, with the update finally ready and tested by a tight-lipped group of community volunteers (to whom huge kudos, by the way: all I got out of anyone was ‘lightening fast’ which is hardly a breach of the non-existent NDA!) Nokia had a problem. Well, two actually.
First, they had to update the applications manager in every device before they could release the full update. Secondly, the actual delivery of the update was the one thing that remained untested. What if it didn’t deliver cleanly? What if silly users rebooted half way through? What if everyone updated at once and the servers crashed?
Enter: PR 1.0.1 (1.2009.44-1) – the John the Baptist of updates. Not The Update itself, but sent to prepare the way for the Update. The True Update was Coming into the World – later.
So this morning the n900 world awoke to an update. Excitement ruled. Breath was held as the firmware installed, and n900s the world over rebooted. And people went to see what was new.
The answer? Visibly, almost nothing, apart from a new shiny layout in the applications manager (hiding the new underlying firmware). All the New Features, so hotly debated, speculated upon and chewed over – those new features (whatever they will be) are Still To Come in the next update, probably later in the week.
People began asking. What does this update do? What was it for? You could almost feel the disappointment – we waited all this time and there’s nothing? No portrait mode browsing? No Planet3 sim support? Can we see the changelog?
And that was when Nokia played its ace.
It will be a day or two before the Big Update arrives, so the n900s needed distracting until them. So someone just happened to leave the door open of the Ovi Store. If you click the ‘Ovi’ symbol in the app-manager you will be told ‘coming soon’. But direct your n900 browser to store.ovi.com and a whole new world opens up.
Maemo.org went mad. Threads proliferated (well, that’s not news). People were so busy installing and testing and playing with the new shiny things in the Ovi store that nobody remembered that the update had been a bit of a damp squib. The store contains just enough exciting touchable games, toys and even a few useful apps to amuse everyone. And a few nice themes, to sparkle up your newly updated device
And later in the week we can go through it all again: Nokia can rest assured that their update delivery worked like silk, and can be trusted to do so again. And all the n900 app-managers are ready and waiting to hear the good news of PR1.1.
Well done Nokia – a nice piece of management of both devices and people.
Me? Oh sorry, I was busy playing with the candle. ;-)