Yesterday, in a bid to counter Apple’s iPhone 5 even before its release, Nokia introduced the Lumina 920 in the hope that it would, finally, churn out an iPhone-killer. What ensued out, however, was tarnished reputation, plummeting share prices and an apology to boot.
In a nutshell, at glitzy simultaneous events in New York and Helsinki, Nokia unveiled two of its latest smartphones, the flagship Lumia 920 and its more economical cousin, the Lumina 820, featuring new Windows Phone 8 software from its partner Microsoft.
As is rote, the company accompanied the launch by the usual marketing material – images, ads and videos highlighting the functionalities and USPs of the devices.
And that’s when it hit the fan. Vox Media’s The Verge, a technology news website, saw something amiss in one of the online ads supposed to demonstrate the image-stabilisation abilities of the new phones. And they decided to give it another dekko. Voila, it turned out that the images that Nokia was flaunting as ‘stabilised’
while being shot by an amateur riding a bicycle, were not really shot by the Lumina 920 – instead, and this is The Verge’s best-guess, a DSLR camera was used for the purpose, dutifully mounted on a van that would offer complete stability to the shots.
In a YouTube video downloaded by the news portal and which has since been replaced by Nokia, The Verge freezes parts where “there’s a curious reflection in the window of the trailer in the background.
It’s not a young man riding his bicycle alongside the cheerful model, but instead a big white van with a lighting rig and a cameraman standing in the doorway – with what appears to be a large camera rig.
Whatever he’s holding, we can reasonably agree it’s not a Lumia 920.”
This did embarrass Nokia but not as much as one would imagine. In a blog post titled ‘An apology is due’, the unabashed smartphone-maker says: “In an effort to demonstrate the benefits of optical image stabilization (which eliminates blurry images and improves pictures shot in low light conditions), we produced a video that simulates what we will be able to deliver with OIS.”
No mention that the video was fake. “Of course, hindsight is 20/20, but we should have posted a disclaimer stating this was a representation of OIS only. This was not shot with a Lumia 920. At least, not yet. We apologise for the confusion we created.” Confusion?
It goes on to add another video of more of the same. Hopefully, even if this one too isn’t shot by the 920, Nokia would have taken pains this time to eliminate any telltale signs. “Here is the video shown at the press conference shot using a Lumia 920. On the right is a Lumia 920 prototype with OIS. On the left is a smartphone without OIS. The difference is apparent.” The difference is, indeed, apparent.