Nokia gets caught faking Lumia 920 image stabilization

Normally I wouldn't be writing about something like Nokia getting caught faking the camera work in their Lumia 920 PureView, but Nokia has been making some pretty bad marketing choices lately. They made those "smartphone beta test" commercials where they tried to brand the iPhone as a beta phone, and then launched the Lumia 900 with embarrassing bugs all it's own. Then, yesterday, Nokia took a swipe at Apple during their press event, once again making fun of the iPhone antenna. And now Nokia is embroiled in controversy over their new flagship phone.

Here's what The Verge discovered about the Nokia Lumia 920 commercials:

As you can see in the video above, 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.

Nokia later admitted to the deception and apologized, but now Youssef Sarhan has found similar evidence showing that the still photos might have been faked too:

A Hacker News user by the alias exDM69 astutely shared a photograph of the photoshoot in Helsinki city center. The photo was taken by a friend of his. I knew an image of the photoshoot would surface sooner or later, how could it not.

You can just about see the DSLR lens on the very left center of the photo.

Case closed.

Nokia hasn't responded to the second allegation. Daniel Rubino from our Mobile Nations sibling site, WPCentral, says the Nokia Lumia 920 camera is legitimately fantastic. He's a big camera nerd, so I believe him. Companies fake things like this all the time. Supermodels get airbrushed (sorry boys, it's true!), devices get rendered, cars get closed courses and professional drivers, and screens and features get simulated.

But simulated screens and features also get honestly labeled as such in the commercials. I'm not opposed to people hating on Apple -- I've been accused of doing the same thing. I like it when companies are bold and aggressive and take it to Apple. What I'm opposed to is failing. What I don't like is when they end up looking foolish. If you're going to bring it, bring it.

Here is a actual prototype Lumia 920 using the OIS technology in action. Give it a look and tell me, should Apple be worried?

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Senior Editor at iMore and a practicing therapist specializing in stress and anxiety. She speaks everywhere from conferences to corporations, co-host of Vector, Review, and Isometric podcasts, and should be followed on Twitter @Georgia_Dow.

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Reader comments

Nokia gets caught faking Lumia 920 image stabilization


The thing I don't understand about reports like this is that the laws actually haven't been changed. Those of us old enough to remember the 70's remember the false advertising laws being enacted and the practice is actually still quite illegal. Yet everyone seems to treat this sort of thing as just a kind of disappointing prank now, instead of the illegal act that it actually is.

Minimally, this advert should be pulled immediately, and Nokia should be on the hook for criminal damages from anyone who wants to sue them. If actually they keep running the commercials, knowing that they are faked, it's basically a case of criminal fraud. Punishable by jail terms technically and no different from many a film-flam operation that has put less "connected" perpetrators in jail. Yet no one seems to care anymore if it's a big corporation.

Like as not, the ad will keep running with tiny tiny white text that no one can see or read that says something about it all being fake and that (seemingly) is all okay nowadays. Very disappointing.