Saturday, 20 December 2008

Turn Off 3G To Save The Environment!

My N95 battery could never last more than 16 hours even when sitting idle. I had to recharge it every night. This week when I was in Kathmandu, I was pleasantly surprised: my battery actually lasted over 36 hours during which I snapped more than 70 photos , played 20 minutes of music and had a couple of phone calls (totaling over 15 minutes of talk time maybe). I noticed that there was no 3G network in Nepal (or at least I was not roamed to one). I believe that is why my battery lasted so long. That fact that I live on the edge of the cell probably exacerbated the situation.

So I decided to disable 3G on my phone. Normally, this is a straight forward operation available from the Settings -> Phone menu. However, my phone was from 3 Australia (product code: 0547465) and it was branded - meaning that it was customised for 3 Australia: some 3 applications was installed, some menu items have been disabled... and the menu item to turn off 3G has been disabled. Super keen on saving the environment by extending my battery life I set out to debrand the phone and turn off 3G!

The process of debranding is as following:

  1. Backup the phone using PC Suite
  2. Change the product code by following the instructions. The new product code I used is 0536087. Note that the NSS could not detect any phone on my notebook. In the end I installed NSS on my desktop (also running XP) using root account and that all worked fine. I don't really know why it would not work on my laptop.
  3. Update the firmware using Nokia Software Updater
  4. Restore the phone using PC Suite. The restore is not perfect and I still have to re-arrange/reinstall some applications. And all my messages and contacts are lost!
But it was all worth it. Now under the Tools -> Settings -> Phone -> Network menu I have an extra item: Network mode where I can select GSM only!

On the negative side, there are some major drawbacks upgrading to the 30.x version of the firmware. TRK no longer works and I had to install alternative (but better) solution. Fontrouter does not seem to work any more in the new browser (because it does not have the character encoding that I need) and I got around the problem by installing Opera Mini instead.

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