Nokia Caught Faking Lumia 920 Sample Video and Images

Nokia is known to do stupid things from time to time – like releasing their flagship model on a day when most stores are closed. However, this time they might have even outdone themselves.

Yesterday, Nokia unveiled its new flagship – the Lumia 920. To be honest, the 920 seems to be a great device. It has reassuring build quality, elegant styling, capable hardware, and stunning imaging capabilities. The Lumia 920 features an 8-megapixel camera with moving parts that promises to offer outstanding low light photography, and digital-camera like optical image stabilization. Nokia even created a video to show off the 920’s photography chops.

The trouble is that most of the things you see in the video embedded above is fake. If you look closely, in one of the trailer windows you can spot a reflection of the camera crew. The video was definitely not shot by a guy riding on a bicycle. In fact, it wasn’t even shot with a Lumia. As you can see in the image embedded below, the camera man is clearly using a professional camera and not a smartphone.

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Once exposed as a cheater, Nokia was quick to own up to its mistake. It apologized “for the confusion”, and admitted that the video was “not shot with a Lumia 920”.

Unfortunately for Nokia, that wasn’t the end of story. An enterprising blogger, Youssef Sarhan, spotted several oddities with the one of the pictures that Nokia is touting as a Lumia 920 sample snap. Check the light sources in the image below. Notice the diffraction patterns? That’s the kind of diffraction pattern you would expect from a prosumer camera or a DSLR. A smartphone camera is likely to produce a simplistic diffraction pattern like we see in the second image embedded below. To make things further damning for Nokia, a Hacker News user shared a snap taken during Nokia’s photoshoots, which clearly shows a DSLR being used by Nokia.

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Nokia Lumia 920 PureView: Alleged Fake Photo

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Nokia Lumia 920 PureView: Prototype Sample Pic

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Photo: Copyright [email protected]
Nokia Photoshoot in Progress: DSLR Spotted in exteme left

What makes Nokia’s decision to fudge sample videos and images taken by the Lumia 920 so ridiculous is the fact that the 920 actually takes brilliant images. Everyone who managed to get their hands on the prototype came away impressed with Lumia’s low-light capturing abilities. Nokia could have shared “real” camera samples and comparisons with the iPhone 4S and Galaxy S3, and everyone would have still been impressed. However, they just couldn’t resist the temptation of faking the samples to make the Lumia seem out of the world.

Nokia Lumia 920 Doubles Down on Camera with PureView, Lens Apps, and Augmented Reality

The past couple of years have not been very pleasant for Nokia. The Finnish mobile phone giant has had a hard fall, and it can only blame itself. There is only one way Nokia can pull itself out of its downward spiral, and that is by coming up with droolworthy handsets. Fortunately, that is exactly what Nokia seems to be doing. The Lumia 920, which was unveiled a short while back, is a gorgeous device that is well complemented by great hardware and latest software.

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Samsung was first off the block with Windows Phone 8 smartphones, but Nokia will probably end up deciding Microsoft’s fate in the smartphone segment. The Windows Phone 8 powered Lumia 920 packs in ample wow-factors to make consumers crave for Nokia’s beast.

The Lumia 920 features an eight-megapixel camera, which by itself is hardly noteworthy. However, Nokia claims that it will offer outstanding low-light performance thanks to its ability to capture five to ten times more light than other smartphones. It also features the stunning PureView tech that we saw in the 808. While the Lumia doesn’t have the gigantic lens of the 808, the combination of superior optics and PureView software could very well make it the best-in-its-class as far as the camera is concerned.

To go with the camera, Nokia is also bundling a number of Lens apps, which are nothing but little apps that are tightly integrated with the camera. The ones that Nokia showed off today include Bing Vision, Photosynth, Blink, FXSuite, PhotoStrip and CNN iReport. Bing Vision is Microsoft’s answer to Google Goggles. It offers image-based search for quickly looking up more information about the book that you are reading or the music CD that your friend owns. Photosynth is also a Microsoft app, and it allows you to create stunning 3D models of any location by stitching together a series of images. FxSuite is an image effects app that allows you to preview effects before actually capturing an image.

The most exciting feature, however, is City Lens. City Lens was announced earlier this year, and was so far only available through Nokia Beta Labs. However, with Windows 8, Nokia will be baking this feature into the system. City Lens is an augmented reality app that leverages Nokia’s excellent maps to overlay information about nearby buildings and establishments on your camera. Augmented Reality apps have been around for quite a few years; however, they are yet to really go mainstream. If Nokia can manage to nail City Lens, it could very well open the flood gates.

Nokia-City-Lens

Using City Lens is pretty straightforward. Open the app, and tell it what you are looking for (e.g. Restaurants). It will instantly pull up nearby restaurants, and overlay them on the camera along with info about the restaurant and its distance. Tilt the phone 45 degrees, City Lens will switch to a list of those locations. Hold it in a parallel position, and it will bring up the map view. Check out the video below to see it in action.

Nokia Announces The Lumia 920 With PureView Technology And Windows Phone 8

As expected, Nokia has just announced its highly anticipated successor to the Lumia 900 here in New York running Windows Phone 8, the Lumia 920. The “most innovative smartphone in the world” features some of the best technology from Nokia including the company’s Pure View tech and Wireless charging.

The Lumia 920 sports a super bright 4.5-inch LCD display with HD+ WXGA (768×1280) resolution encased in Gorilla Glass 2.  Don’t get excited about the extra 68 pixels though, as they are used up by three on-screen navigation buttons at the bottom. The display uses Nokia’s new Pure View HD+ technology to display text with stunning clarity and viewing angles. Internally, the Lumia 920 packs in a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor clocked at 1.5GHz, an Adreno 225 GPU, 1GB of RAM and 32Gb of internal memory.

Even though the Lumia 920 sports PureView technology, it does not pack in the monster 41MP sensor as found on the PureView 808. Instead, it packs in a much smaller 8.7MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics, optical image stabilization and a next-generation LED flash that is 2x times more powerful. However, the PureView technology is still very much there, and the Lumia 920 can take some stunning pictures even in extremely low-light situations. The handset can also take professional quality 1080p HD videos, thanks mainly due to the Pure View technology.

“We view imaging as a core area for differentiation in the smartphone space,” said Crawford Del Prete, Executive VP WW Products and Chief Research Officer, IDC. “Low light photography has been a weak point for smartphones. Nokia has addressed this with PureView to create real customer value. By applying its rich expertise in imaging Nokia has created a best of breed experience for everyday use.”

The Lumia 920 will come in a bunch of vibrant colors including yellow, red, grey, white and black. The handset will sport the same polycarbonate unibody construction as its predecessor. Thanks to the Qualcomm baseband, the Lumia 920 will simultaneously support 5 LTE bands along with support for HSPA+ networks. Other features of the handset include NFC, Wi-Fi b/g/n, GPS with A-GPS, and a 1.2MP front-facing camera capable of shooting videos in 720p resolution. The 10.7mm thick handset will also incorporate a 2000mAh battery for, hopefully, an all day long battery life. The Qi wireless charging technology is also incorporated on the Lumia 920, and makes an appearance after it was original featured in the Palm Pre phones.

However, the most important feature of the Lumia 920 is that it will be running on the next generation OS from Microsoft, Windows Phone 8. The new OS will feature tight integration with other Nokia services such as Nokia Maps, Transport, and Drive. The new OS will also incorporate an updated camera app that will be tightly integrated with other augmented reality apps from MS including City Lens.

Has AT&T Enabled Visual Voicemail for non-LTE Windows Phones?

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This afternoon, I noticed that my Nokia Lumia 800 prompted me for a voicemail password out of nowhere. Thinking that there was some connectivity glitch, I entered the password and guess what, it took me to a visual voicemail screen! I have not seen that screen on my Lumia before, and as I was made to understand, Visual Voicemail for Windows Phone was only available if you added a 4G LTE plan with AT&T.

AT&T Lumia 800 Visual Voice Mail Checking

Before everyone gets excited, I should provide a few disclaimers: I am on my company’s corporate plan, so I don’t know what plan I am on. However, knowing that my plan is actually an “iPhone data” plan, I know it could not be a 4G LTE plan, since there is no such plan. The other thing is that the screen stays at “syncing voicemail” and does not actually show me my voicemails. At some point this afternoon, I did get a message that it was not able to connect and that I could call the traditional voicemail. I restarted the phone to see if this disappeared, and it has not, so I suppose this functionality may actually be rolling out slowly. I sure hope so.

AT&T Lumia 800 Visual Voicemail Settings

Could this be another move by Nokia (and AT&T) to further the Windows Phone cause? We have seen that Nokia has been able to get a few exclusives and are making quite a splash in bringing the Windows Phone platform on par with iOS and Android. Could this be another move in that plan?

Lumia 800 About Screen

I am unable to confirm if this is true with other non-Lumia or non-LTE devices. If anyone has a Windows Phone (Lumia or otherwise) and is with AT&T but *not* on a 4G LTE plan, let me know. Let’s hope things are changing at AT&T with regard to their love of Windows Phone.

Update: I never saw it on my AT&T Samsung Focus, but here’s a response I saw on twitter:

 

 

More, from twitter:

Lumia Still Selling Out As Nokia Locks Eyes With Verizon

It appears that sales of the Nokia Lumia are continuing to be rather strong, with sales of the device “outpacing” supply, according to Nokia U.S. President Chris Weber.

Demand has been outstripping supply for the first couple of weeks, and we’ve been working hard to rectify that,” he said. “The demand for cyan [phones] is significantly outpacing supply. When you give people something different from a design perspective—colors, etc. —it really stands out, and consumers want that.”

Like you may expect on an episode of Undercover Boss, Weber has personally visited many AT&T stores over the past few weekends to monitor how the salespeople take to and promote the Lumia. The verdict? Support has been generally “very good”, but it’s overall still a “work in progress”, he said. Whatever the case, the Lumia does seem to be selling out quite rapidly at many AT&T stores; my Twitter timeline can attest to this, with people all over the country saying that their local store was either running low on or completely out of the Lumia.

“Selling out” is definitely a refreshingly new thing to hear with the Windows Phone, platform, however. But despite these not-too-shabby sales — Lumia sales topped 2 million in the first quarter of this year — the launch wasn’t without problem. A data connectivity bug plagued the device initially, resulting in Nokia/AT&T offering a $100 credit to those who purchased defective devices. This in turn prompted Nokia’s share price to hit a 16-year low, unfortunately. Some other quirks seem to also effect the device, such as a purple tint on the screen (as Mr. Rafael Rivera has encountered with two Lumias already.)

It’s also far too early to deem the platform a complete success; Windows Phone still has ways to go before it can catch up to iOS and Android in the marketshare leaderboard. And to help the platform grow and find its way into the hands of more users, Weber commented saying that the company is working hard to join forces with the CDMA carrier:

“We’re not making any announcements, but we understand the importance of Verizon and we’re working hard to make that a reality.”

Verizon did recently admit that it too had a crush on Windows Phone during an earning’s call late last month. Hopefully the two can proceed to copulate and put more Windows Phones in the hands of consumers

Nokia Provides More Evidence of Being the “real” Windows Phone Maker

Nokia Lumia 900

On May 8, at the CTIA Wireless 2012 show in New Orleans, Nokia announced that they are partnering with a bunch of top-tier brands to bring their various apps and games to Windows Phone, with a lot of those apps and games being exclusive to Nokia’s Lumia line of Windows Phones.

Some of the highlights from their press release:

PGA Tour (exclusive to Lumia for 12 months)

In addition to live tournament scoring, highlights and player information, the app provides interactive, augmented coverage of select events and holes, showing each player’s exact position and scoring information. This allows fans to “get inside the ropes” and follow all players competing on the PGA TOUR.

ESPN (exclusive to Lumia until May 2013)

This app already exists on the Lumia devices, and is in addition to the ESPN ScoreCenter app that is available to all Windows Phones. The Lumia app will see some functionality updates and in addition, the ESPN Fantasy Football app (another Lumia exclusive) will be made available later in the Fall to align with the NFL season.

Rovio

After a back-and-forth on whether they are going to build Angry Birds Space for Windows Phone or not, Rovio is now building a dedicated design and development team to create games for Lumia and other Windows Phone devices. That’s quite a scoop for Nokia from the rather negative start that the game maker had with Microsoft and Windows Phone.

Nokia and Rovio will partner to develop innovative new consumer products and content exclusively for Nokia Lumia smartphones, alongside cross platform multi-channel integrated marketing initiatives.

EA

EA will be bringing some of their most popular titles to Lumia and other Windows Phones, including FIFA, Madden NFL, NBA Jam, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR®, Mirror’s Edge and Yahtzee to add to the several titles they already have in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Groupon (exclusive to Lumia for 6 months)

There is already an official Groupon app which is going to get some major updates, including a cool and innovative augmented reality feature to find deals near you.

Tripdots (exclusive to Lumia for 3 months)

Tripdots helps vehicle owners optimize their driving behaviors while connecting with other vehicle owners and sharing driving efficiency achievements via social networks. The app lets users monitor the operation of their vehicles to enable cost savings through better understanding fuel economy.

PayPal

Yet another “key” app missing in the Windows Phone ecosystem is for the popular PayPal service. PayPal is going to work with Nokia to not only bring their app to Windows Phone, but also use functionality like Live Tiles to enhance the user experience.

AOL Entertainment Hub (exclusive to Lumia for 3 months)

Whether you want to listen to one of 55,000 radio stations via SHOUTcast, stream free music albums with AOL’s Listening Party or view Trailers and Movie listings, the AOL Entertainment Hub delivers everything you need.

Yet another app where Live Tiles are going to be used to enhance the user experience:

“The live tiles on Nokia Lumia helped us create an awesome app that makes it easy to stay in the know on what’s happening in Film, TV, Radio, Concerts and Music right from your home screen,” said Sol Lipman, Director of Mobile First products at AOL.

TIME magazine

Utilizing the stunning Windows Phone UI, the app will enable users to view TIME.com content, receive breaking news alerts, watch rich media content including video and share stories via the Windows Phone People Hub, while delivering the latest news and stories to users first via Live Tiles.

Newsweek – The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast app delivers the latest content through Live Tiles and combines the unique style of The Daily Beast with the Windows Phone UI to deliver a stunning experience. For users who only have minutes to digest the latest news, the app also delivers The Cheat Sheet – your one stop must have reads from across the world – uniquely designed for Windows Phone.

Box app for Windows Phone

Box, another oft-requested app, will finally come to Windows Phone with support for nine languages.

 

iPhone 4S Used by a Windows Phone User: Screen

iPhone 4S

For an introduction and background to this series, please refer to my first post on the topic: New Series: iPhone 4S Used by a Windows Phone User.

After looking at the setup experience, the first thing I wanted to look at is the much talked about Retina display of the iPhone 4S. I had heard a lot about how fantastic it is, and read a lot about the technical stuff like pixel density on that screen, but hadn’t experienced it outside of using my friends’ phones for a few minutes. The few minutes I spent with my friends’ phones did not impress me much but I attributed it to the fact that I had spent so little time with the display.

So, having used it constantly for a few days, what was the verdict? Frankly, I don’t see what the big deal is. Yes, it is clear and crisp. It is very, very clear and crisp. However, the Super AMOLED screen of my Focus and the ClearBlack AMOLED on my Lumia are both equally clear and crisp. In fact, I love the deeper colors on the base Lumia screen much more than what the iPhone 4S produces. It could be a result of bigger tiles on my Lumia compared to the many folders (with tinier icons) on my iPhone, but in “real world” use, the Lumia comes off as being as clear and crisp as the iPhone and the colors richer/deeper than the iPhone.

 

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Yes, I could zoom into a specific icon and see how there is virtually no pixelation, but I never zoom to that level with my normal eyesight. Under normal circumstances, I look at the Lumia screen (with the dark theme enabled), and I look at the iPhone 4S with the normal brightness, and I must say, the Lumia screen comes out looking better.

(Please excuse my screenshots – I tried to make sure the brightness levels on both the phones were similar, and also, it looks like screenshot tools on *both* the phones seem to be just average?)

The other area where the Retina display is supposed to do better is reading. The claim — web pages, books, etc. are much better to read on that display compared to the Lumia? Here too, I did not see a tremendous difference.

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Perhaps my expectations were raised really high? Maybe. Perhaps I should have tested it with long periods of reading? Maybe, but I don’t read pages and pages of books on the phone. The most I read is a multi-page web article, some part of books/magazines, and of course emails. I have provided some samples of the same above, and the Retina does not come off as being vastly different from the Lumia.

I would like to state emphatically, the iPhone screen is fantastic. However, in comparison to the Lumia, it does not seem to be dramatically superior. The Lumia holds its own despite “lower specs” across the board. The ClearBlack AMOLED on the Lumia “pops” the colors very well and the text renders quite well too. Oh, and a completely personal takeaway: when I turn on the Lumia, there is an immediate “wow” factor; maybe because of the colors, the brightness, the curved glass screen, or a combination of these and other factors that I can’t really pinpoint. Whatever it is, it makes the Lumia screen feel better than the iPhone screen, to me. Some friends on Twitter said that I need to give the Retina display some time and I will realize the beauty of it. I have seen it is a good screen, but after 4-5 days of extensive use, I really don’t see a huge upside in that screen.

Also, since I promised to talk about size as well, let me say that strictly speaking, the Lumia 800 that I am using now and the iPhone are not too different in size. However, my previous phone, the Samsung Focus, was 4″ diagonally and I really, really like that size. When I started using the Lumia after the Focus, I felt that the Lumia itself was a bit small (it is 3.7″ diagonally) and the iPhone is even smaller. So, compared to my ideal screen size of 4″, the iPhone seems smaller. However, for this experiment, I will not bring it up since the Lumia 800 and the iPhone are comparable in size.

Do you have any feedback on this comparison? Have you seen something I did not? I would love to hear from you!

iPhone 4S Used by a Windows Phone User: Out Of the Box Experience, Setup

iPhone

For an introduction and background to this series, please refer to my first post on the topic: New Series: iPhone 4S Used by a Windows Phone User.

As someone who has switched (and reset) Windows Phones quite a bit, for one reason or the other, I know how painful it is to get the phone to “my state”. Yes, entering my Windows Live ID and setting up Facebook account sets up a ton of stuff automatically (Contacts, Calendars, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pictures) but there are still a lot of personalization items which I have to repeat every single time. Here is what I have to do every time I set up a new Windows Phone, after setting up my “accounts”:

  • Reinstall all my apps. It is a bit easier now with web marketplace and apps like Reinstaller, but I still have to manually reinstall each app.
  • Customize each app with login information, settings for the app, etc.
  • Set up my live tiles for various apps. Some apps offer secondary tiles (like “Sports News” in a newspaper app, for example), so these have to be manually set up.
  • De-dupe contacts across Windows Live, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. This seems like a bit of functionality which was left off for lack of time. On Windows Live website, these contacts are in fact de-duped, but on the phone, they are not. So I have to go in and clean up manually.
  • Create my People Groups and pin them to Start Screen. I like this feature a lot, so I do like to create three groups: immediate family, cousins, and close friends. That way, I see the updates from these groups bubble up over all the other noise. There’s no way to save these Groups in the cloud so they automatically come when I sign in.
  • Adjust system settings like letting Bing use location services, my Office username, etc.
  • I don’t play many games, but if I did, almost none of the games save their states in the cloud, so all game progress gets lost when moving phones.
  • Connect to PC to set up wireless sync (and check if there are any updates available for the phone).

As you can see, there is a lot of work to be done after signing into various accounts to set up a new phone. How does it go with iPhone? Read on!

New Series: iPhone 4S Used by a Windows Phone User

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Those who read my posts know that I have been a Windows Phone user since it launched in late-2010. I like the platform a lot, and do believe it is more efficient for the way I use a smartphone. Before I switched to Windows Phone, I used an iPhone 3GS. Since then, my exposure to iOS has been through my iPad (1 and 2) and my iPod Touch. However, those iOS devices are at most used for an hour a day, so it is not fair to use that to compare against the Windows Phone platform.

So, when I recently got an opportunity to get an AT&T iPhone 4S, I jumped on it. I decided to give it my full attention, use it as my primary(-ish) phone for some time, and compare and contrast iOS with Windows Phone after actually using it. I figured, rather than compare specs on paper, which anybody can, it would be better to compare usage. With that in mind, I present this new series, where I will talk about various aspects of using Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone vs. using an iPhone 4S. My intention is to look at the common tasks one performs with a smartphone and how they differ across these two platforms. This is not so much of a “competition” to determine who “wins”, it is more of a comparison to identify the tasks where one platform may excel and the other may not.

I plan to break the series into the following:

What I do not want to do is:

  • Look at hard specs like cores, PPI, version of bluetooth supported, etc. If any of these happen to make it more difficult for me to do normal things, I will point them out.
  • I am going in with the assumption that we are going to live in a heterogeneous world where I may have a Windows PC and related apps along with my iPhone or iPad. As a result, I will try to stay away from stuff that is clearly going to remain “Apple-only”. For example, iMessage or certain aspects of iCloud which do not carry over to say, a Windows Phone, like contacts and calendar sync. There are other platform-specific tie-ins with Windows Phone like Xbox LIVE Achievements, which again, I won’t go into.

I am genuinely excited, both, to try the iPhone 4S (it’s been about 2 years since I used an iPhone), as well as to compare that experience to how I do things on my Lumia. Is there anything specific you would like me to look at in this experiment? Let me know!

Nokia has a Dismal Quarter; Sales Disappoint

Nokia announced its earnings for the first quarter of 2012, and as expected, they suck. Its net sales dropped 29% year-over-year to €7.35 billion, while its operating profit dipped from €439 million to an operating loss of €1.34 billion.

It has seen a decline in not only smartphone sales, but also mobile phone sales. It is expecting to make an operating loss again in the next quarter, as it scrambles to get its device strategy in place.

While most of the loss can be attributed to restructuring, it would have reported a loss even on an adjusted, non-IFRS basis.

While the sales of Lumia devices have apparently been encouraging, they hardly offset the decline in sales of Nokia’s Symbian devices.

“We are navigating through a significant company transition in an industry environment that continues to evolve and shift quickly. Over the last year we have made progress on our new strategy, but we have faced greater than expected competitive challenges.” said Elop, Nokia’s CEO. “We are confident in our strategy and focused on responding urgently in the short term and creating value for our shareholders in the long term.”

At this point, Nokia’s future is almost entirely tied to Microsoft’s Windows Phone. 2012 is going to be a very crucial year for both of them, and should tell us whether or not Nokia made the right move by betting everything on Microsoft’s horse which may be capable of smoking the other horses, but entered the race too late.

Nokia plans to focus on the budget smartphone segment with cheaper smartphone options like the Lumia 610, and also focus on international markets to drive growth.