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Nokia N8 owners to get free games as part of Symbian 1.1 software update

Nokia has released software update 1.1 for its new Symbian devices, including the N8, C7 and C6-01. It includes new features and three free preloaded games from big publishers.

The latest version of Symbian made its debut last year with the Nokia N8 smart phone, and has since found its way into the company's C7 and C6-01 mobiles. Now Nokia has released a software update for all three phones, which promises to fix some of the buggier elements of the Symbian software, while also offering a couple of new features and some decent free games.

Nokia warns in its blog post that "most of the updated features are not directly visible to end users". That'll be the bug fixes and performance enhancements, then. Nokia reckons version 1.1 of the new Symbian OS will "make it even smoother to use", beefing up "the quality and stability of the devices".

That's good news. In our review of the Nokia N8 last September, we complained about some of the strange pop-up messages, and other confusing and frustrating elements in the software. As we get our hands on the new update, we'll let you know if it solves any of those bugbears.

Version 1.1 also has a couple of new features, although they're nice-to-haves rather than radically amazing leaps forward. You can now accept meeting requests directly from email invitations, while Nokia's Ovi Maps is now baked into the Symbian email app, so you can see locations of meetings that have an address attached.

N8 users specifically get a new version of the Quick Office 6.4 app, to make editing documents and zooming in and out more of a cinch. Better, though, is the news that new N8s will now come with three games preloaded: Need for Speed Shift from EA, Real Golf from Gameloft and Galaxy on Fire from Fishlabs.

We checked in with EA this morning, and the version of Need for Speed Shift is the full game, not just a demo, so this is looking like good value for N8-owning gamers. Already got an N8? Don't worry -- you can get the games free too, via Nokia's Ovi Store.

Nokia warns the N8 software update in particular is a whacking great file, so you should be connected to a Wi-Fi network if installing it over the air. One more caveat: the version of Symbian 1.1 that has been released is the "standard, non-customised version of the software", with country and operator-specific variants to follow soon.

In other words, if you bought your N8 through an operator, you may have to wait longer to get the update -- a frustration already well known to Android users. To see if the update is available, you're directed to the Software Update feature on your device, or Nokia's Ovi Suite desktop software.