Nokia was caught red-handed in a lie this week, after tech bloggers spotted a cameraman capturing a video the company claimed was shot with its new, highly touted Lumia 920 smartphone. After apologizing, Nokia today posted a real video shot with the smartphone, displaying the optical image stabilization (OIS) camera technology that was faked on the first try.
In the original video, the company claims its main fault was failing to publish "a disclaimer stating this was a representation of OIS only." In the advertisement, a young woman is purported to be filmed on her bicycle by another person riding a bicycle. The screen is split in half to show how shaky the video appears when taken while riding a bicycle while OIS is turned off, compared to how steady it is when it is turned on.
However, tech bloggers were rather quick to point out evidence that the video said to be shot with OIS turned on was not even filmed with a smartphone. At one point, the camera and the bicycle-riding subject of the video pass by the window of a parked car, which shows a reflection of a camera man using a professional camera and filming from another vehicle. This screenshot published on Fox News shows it pretty clearly:
All Nokia could do was come forward and apologize; and that's exactly what the Finnish manufacturer did. The company acknowledged that the video was a fake, and expressed regret in neglecting to inform the public upfront. The company also posted this video, which actually shows some steady video captured with the Nokia Lumia's PureView OIS technology:
A few questions to be asked here:
Why not just post a video shot with a Lumia 920? The follow-up video does show a marked difference. The video itself is admittedly much more boring, but if the technology works that well, why not actually make the advertisement they way they claimed to?
Who's getting fired for omitting the disclaimer? It's a pretty simple step, and with full knowledge that the advertisement is claiming to do something that it didn't actually do, it's a pretty inexcusable mistake. Might I suggest hiring a replacement who has experience making car commercials?
How happy are the two actors in that commercial now? This video will probably live on in infamy, and they will always be able to say they were a part of it. If nothing else, they each showed some sweet bicycle skills, which could come in handy for an audition if anoyone makes a sequel of that Joe Gordon-Levitt bicyle-action flick.
Is anybody else disappointed in Nokia? Personally, I'm let-down as a person in the market for a new smartphone. For the past year I've been planning on buying a new iPhone (I still use a 3GS, and I've been split on the 4S and 5 for my next purchase) but in the past two months I've started to consider alternatives. The Samsung Galaxy S III has caught my eye a few times, and, to be honest, the past week of Lumia 920 rumors have had an impact on me. The phone has some great features - a great big screen, wireless charging, a highly touted user interface (assuming it's at least as good as the 900), real-life 4G, turn-by-turn navigation, near-field communications payments, and now apparently a free internet music service? Being in the market that Microsoft and Nokia claim to be targeting - the one for something different - it's annoying to see continued PR missteps chip away at whatever trust the company has instilled among consumers.
It's not just the video fiasco, either, which doesn't necessarily concern me. It's the withholding of availability and carrier information; it's the uncertainty with which everyone is viewing Windows Phone 8; it's the company's unwillingness to let people try out the new phone, as was documented here by ARS Technica's Peter Bright. None of this should be that complicated. If the phone isn't ready, then put off the release and be straightforward about it. Nokia and Microsoft appear to be onto something here, and it's just painful to see them fumble at the finish line.
In the meantime, here's another video that's just as fitting in response to Nokia's latest blunder: