My Nokia N8 goes “Balle Balle” with Symbian Belle

It is not normal for me to post write-ups about products and software: usability issues have been written about in the past, but never processes/tutorials about running software upgrades. Clearly this situation is different.

It has been a while since the information about Symbian Belle was leaked; in fact the software itself was found leaked in late August 2011, a week before Symbian Anna upgrade was officially available to the N8. Ever since, I have been waiting with bated breath – make that rushed impatience – the official release of Symbian Belle for the N8.

Since late October, the unending curiosity had made me run the Check for Updates in the “Device Manager” every single day. By end of November, the had given way to an impatient urge to check for updates at least two times a day, and if that was not enough, also check via SW Update tool at least once — just for good measure!

It is in this context (perennially Google-ing for news updates about Belle for N8) that I came across this article: Belle for N8 appears on Navifirm! As you can see it was not at all difficult to convince myself that this was indeed the official version. Reading through the article I easily believed that I could follow the “easy” instructions therein to flash my N8 with Belle. Finally!

In trying out the flashing process, I made a couple of rookie mistakes, hit more than a couple of roadblocks, scared myself that I have bricked my phone, gave up on the update, found one important troubleshooting tip, did this a couple of times, before finally finding out that the N8 was now working on Symbian Belle.

The 20MB of free space on my N8 C: Drive along with a Polish interface was my first realisation that the so-called official version was a T-Mobile version that I would need to rerun the process again. And I did. With ease this time.

The N8 is running the beautiful Belle now with more that 130MB of free space on the device C: drive! Clearly if this was a usability test, I would have professed high learnability on flashing a mobile OS.

If you are in the same situation as I was, and cannot wait any longer to update your N8 to Belle, here is a set of steps that may make life a tad easier.

Note: I do not aim to provide you with a tutorial here, but just a laundry list of the things you have to do to flash your N8 with Belle upgrade — AT YOUR OWN RISK of bricking your phone — to get this right and working. Then again, if a non-techie like me could do it, I would think most would be able to do this provided one follows the steps so diligently explained in these tutorials referred herein.

First Step: Download a set of files and software:

Second Step: Read these tutorials, and understand them. Then follow these tutorials to the hilt:

Third Step: Start using and enjoying your N8

  • To be frank, the main difference is in the home screens and the interactions and features therein.
  • Else most of the power of Belle is already on your N8 if you were running Anna PR 2.0
  • That having been said, Belle is faster, smoother, and feels very powerful

Final Note of Caution: It turns out that the “official version” may indeed not be the official one, and clearly not the final release version. All indications are that the OTA update may be arriving to the N8 in a couple of weeks. In other words, it may just be worth the wait rather than running the modded upgrade.