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Nokia opens ethics investigation into misleading Windows Phone launch

UPDATE Sept 11: Nokia has opened an ethics investigation into the use of faked photos and video at its Lumia 920 smartphone launch, according to a Bloomberg reprt.

Nokia says its inhouse ethics officer will conduct a review into why the company published misleading marketing 

An independent report will seek to “to understand what happened,” Susan Sheehan, a Nokia spokeswoman, told Bloomberg.

Following behind-the-scenes photos published by Hacker News over the weekend, Nokia broadened its apology for the September 7 (Sept 6 NZT) demo of its Lumia 920 - which will be its first smartphone to run on Microsoft Windows Phone 8 software.

The company has admitted images used as examples of the Lumia 920's photo and video abilities were not actually taken on a Lumia 920.

The scandal is keenly felt by Nokia, which is banking on the Lumia series to regain ground lost to iPhone and Android. The Finnish company's shares [NYSE:NOK] dived 16% on September 7, and were down 0.38% in late trading today.


Nokia expands apology for faked video to cover faked photos too

UPDATE Sept 10: Nokia has expanded it apology for "simulating" - or more bluntly, fakiing elements of it launch for the Lumia 920.

On September 6, the company posted a blog called "An apology is due," admitting that video supposedly taken on the 920 had been simulated.

Now, in an email to Mashable, the Finnish phone maker has admitted photos used at the event were "simulated" as well. Neither the photos nor the video was taken on a 920.

Nokia was forced into the admission after a Hacker News posted a wideshot photo that revealed a host of sophisticated gear surrounding a woman photographed to demonstrate the Lumia 920's PureView floating lens optical image stabilisation (OIS) technology, which the company says reduces blur in low light situations and makes for smoother pictures.


Nokia's new Windows phone gets thumbs up from fanboys, big thumbs down from investors

Sept 6: Nokia shares [NYSE:NOK] plunged 16% today as the company previewed its Lumia 920 - one of the first phones to run on Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 software (due October 26).

Tech writers were impressed by the 920, whose feature includes wireless charging, a 4.5-inch display (the iPhone is 3.5-inch), 4G support, and an 8.7 megapixel "PureView" camera with a highend Carl Zeiss lens. And Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 software has received solid notices from critics. The new OS will be a close relative to the tablet and PC versions of Windows 8, making it easy for software makers to port one app between the three platforms - something that should help chase down Apple and Google Android's advantage in apps.

But it wasn't enough to reassure Nokia's long-suffering investors, many of whom seemed to think the launch was the company's last-best hope - and that the 920 just didn't have what it takes to turn the company around. Nokia's silence on release dates didn't help.

The Lumia 920 was unveiled in New York earlier today. Nokia used the same event to preview a step-down model, the Lumia 820.The 820 also supports wireless charging, but only as an optional add-on.

Although Lumia sales have been steadily rising, they are still the single digit millions per quarter, against 26 million iPhones sold last quarter by Apple, which in turn trails smartphone sales by those in the Google Android camp.

Nokia will face more pressure on September 12 (September 13 NZ time) when Apple stages a major product launch, widely assumed to be for a new iPhone with a larger display.

In late NYSE trading Nokia's US-listed shares were changing hands at $US2.38.

Before the release of the first iPhone, in 2008, they traded as high as $US56.

At first blush, investors seem to have been harsh on Nokia today.

Lumia sales have been growing, if not as fast as some would like, and the 920's wireless charging feature (used via a charging pillow, plate or stand) does provide a standout selling feature.

Wireless charging is not new. Third-party phone shells and pads have been around for a while. But having a model-specific series of charges is a new development. And it's one that could be keenly appreciated by smartphone owners suffering under an ABC (Always Be Charging) lifestyle.

Other features, such as the high-end video and still camera, and Photosynth software for stitching together a panorama, are not so unique, but seem very elegantly implemented.

Nokia is also pushing a "it's not just about the megapixels" argument (sensible the iPhone 4S and high-end Androids already have 8 megapixel camera). In New York, the company demonstrated the Lumia 920's optical image stabilisation (OIS) technology, it says eliminates blurry images and improves pictures shot in low light conditions. But the company later apologised and revealed "OIS" footage displayed at the demo was not actually taken on a 920, but rather a "simulation" of OIS technology.

If the mapping and music streaming features are included in the the 920's NZ release, this will definitely be a smartphone worthy checking out - especially for those using Windows and Microsoft Office on their PC.

Local pricing and availability will be announced later this year, Nokia NZ says.

See full Lumia 920 tech specs here.

Comments and questions

I think the market was punishing them more for a lack of details regarding pricing and network availability more than anything else...

Wireless charging is a nifty trick. But it hardly gets you away from the ABC problem. The pad need to be plugged in somewhere and the phone needs to be sitting on or near the pad. Battery life gets you away from the ABC problem and in that it looks like the latest RAZE series from Motorola looks to be pretty good, touting 19 hours of talk time.

If it makes the cost of producing the phone higher than having the standard micro-usb then it's kindof a waste of money. The characteristics of the phone when it's actually being used are the key features, not the way the phone's battery gets re-charged.

Let's hope WP8 gets a better reception than the PC version, which is being panned by a lot of people as suffering from the typical MS pattern of alternating between a really good PC OS and a terrible one (XP really good, Vista terrible, W7 really good, W8 not looking promising). My PC upgrade cylce managed to go from XP to W7 and skip Vista entirely. I'm hoping I can skip W8, and even if MS stick with the W8 style W9 (or whatever) should at least perform better, which should come around at about the time I need a new PC.

Unfortunately I see nothing much to convince me to move from Android to WP. I don't want/need phone or tablet apps on my PC so I'm happy with the Android environment for tablet and phone.

Oops I mean RAZR.

so you chose to pick one thing and then rant about how one nifty trick doesn't make it good, Ok so what about the hd+ screen with higher ppi than the iPhone 4s and super fast refresh rates? or the pureview camera??? or the top end free navigation???? the huge battery???? Not to mention all the wp8 os specifics like nfc, bit locker, ie10, native code support, cross platform gaming support etc Its like you read one thing and thought that was it.

The Lumia 920 looks attractive on a number of levels.

But it's a major fail not to mention when it will be available (Nokia NZ says some time later this year).

Steve Jobs would rather have pulled off his own arms than demo'd an iPhone with no launch date.

Expect some hard dates at Apple's launch next week - which will probably only be days or a couple of weeks later to keep the hype machine rolling.

CK, is NBR doing an article on the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Note II anytime soon??

감사! 감사! ;-)

someone should tell Nokia you can't polish a t*rd.
i love their hardware - their engineers put the battery life and aerials in other phones to shame. they should have continued with the 770 and Maemo projects instead of hooking up to the software world's gravy train to hell.

You might not be able to polish a turd but you can roll it in glitter!!!

It would seem only people that don't use WP don't like it. Highest customer satisfaction rating of any phone os says it all! so keep playing with Android glitch fest but I for one will be getting this bad boy :) and in lambo yellow. All you Normans can keep your crappy grey battery eating glitch ridden slabs.

Looks good - though I am not a great fan of the Live Tiles - gives the impression that the phone will be constantly chewing away at my data cap (unless this stuff is zero rated).

I'm keen to see what Apple comes up with - in response to the Galaxy S3 which is a fine phone (apart from litigation).

Wonder if the charging pillow could also be used as an electric blanket?

>"I'm keen to see what Apple comes up with - in response to the Galaxy S3 "

More than likely their response will be more patent litigation proclaiming their unique invention of a rectangular device with rounded corners.

The tiles show updates from your apps which are connected to the net anyway, like when you get a new email for example, they are not chewing through your data

Apple will release another phone with icons .. Wow

I'm running win 7.5 on an HTC Titan and pretty happy with it. Links well to my internet services. Only problem is the Kindle app is crap. Probably Amazon doesn't want it to work.

It is remarcable how can a company so big make such huge mistakes. Not having a release date just absolutely and definitely kills any exitement the phone can provoque. It is ridiculous to have people waiting for the phone to be released and not giving them even the slightliest clue of a release date. What are they thinking, really? And to add to this non sense, Latin america is not in their map for new sales. The phone had potential, but no one is going to remember it in a couple months.

cool phone can't wait to ditch my iPhone 4a

Nokia is taking a leaf from Microsoft's book then? After being the greatest phone manufacturer on the planet, they now have to rely on dubious marketing to try and sell their unwanted ware rather than make a product that people want. Sad!

So they have an "inhouse ethics officer". I bet this hair-shirted, po-faced, humourless Finn is the life and soul of every party.

Hard enough competing with Apple - must be even harder with pompous tossers like this perpetually poised to hang you out to dry.

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