Arriving earlier than expected, the recently revealed PR1.3 update for the Maemo 5 running Nokia N900 has started rolling out internationally, available via either a direct Over-The-Air update, Nokia's PC-based Software Updater (shown above), or by manually downloading and re-flashing the device. With a version number of 20.2010.36.2, an official changelog has yet to be posted, but Nokia's announcement on its Maemo page details various improvements including support for the company's Ovi Suite PC software, and in their own words, "hundreds of tweaks and fixes that will make your N900 run faster and smoother than ever." In addition, the Ovi Music Store (where available) is also accessible via the N900 for downloading DRM-free music.
But of much greater interest are some of the features of the new firmware below the surface including the supposed ability to dual-boot Maemo and MeeGo, and the integration of the Qt 4.7 application and UI framework of the MeeGo platform with Maemo 5. This is significant as it basically means that Maemo will share a common software development platform with MeeGo and Symbian creating a larger, more appealing environment for app development and ultimately bringing more apps to the N900.
As a N900 owner myself, it's a very welcome surprise to see Nokia continue to support the N900 and Maemo, especially considering Maemo has been superseded by MeeGo leaving many to believe that the previous PR1.2 update was the last one we would receive. I have already received the notification and updated my device OTA, with the download and installation completing without any problems. So far I haven't spotted any significant changes and I haven't tried to install and sync the N900 with the Ovi Suite, but I think there is a small but noticeable improvement in performance across the board. Keeping in mind Nokia's announcement last week that we now won't see the first MeeGo smartphone until 2011, the N900 looks set to remain as the company's most powerful smartphone for the time being, and the only way to experience the MeeGo OS. Have any other N900 owners updated their devices with the new firmware yet? Any other new changes you've spotted? Discuss the N900, the PR1.3 update and your thoughts on Maemo and MeeGo in the comments below.[The Handheld Blog | Maemo.Nokia | Maemo DP Team Blog]