The first firmware update for the N82 is going to have a subtle change we've been looking for; the preservation of User Data (writes Kevin at the S60 blog). The plan is that when you do upgrade the firmware, your applications and settings will remain intact . Three caveats; 1) you should still back up your data first; 2) It's only for the N82; 3) you'll need to wait a bit longer for the first N82 firmware upgrade to arrive.
One of the most common complaints about updating a devices firmware is that your settings and applications that you had installed are gone. I agree and in order to improve this situation with the Nokia N82 some changes were made as to how your data is stored so that when you update with Nokia Software Updater to the latest firmware your settings and applications will still be available! The N82 is the first Nseries device to implement User Data Preservation.
Note: Even with a device that has user data preservation, you should always back up any important data before performing a firmware update in case something goes wrong (and if something does go wrong you'll feel much better knowing you backed up your data beforehand.)
With that said, having your settings and installed applications still there after a firmware update makes for updating to the latest firmware much more convenient. This feature has not been discovered by you guys and gals because there hasn't been a firmware update available yet for N82 (don't worry the first N82 firmware update that improves the stability of key applications is in the pipeline and will be available soon). Since this is the first time user data preservation has been implemented in an Nseries, if you run into any problems with an installed application not working or missing files please leave a comment here and I'll pass on the problem to be looked into, or if you prefer send me an E-mail at email@example.com with all the details (application name, version, where to download the application, etc.). Also don't be afraid to leave a comment if the user data preservation worked flawlessly for you, it's nice to hear positive comments too! =)