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Smartphone beta test campaign comes back to bite Nokia in the @$$

Last week Nokia launched their new, Lumia 900 Windows Phone marketing campaign, pretty much calling the iPhone a problem-plagued beta test of a smartphone.

And then the Lumia 900 promptly launched with bugs that embarrassingly made it look like no one had bothered to beta test it.

See, there's been this little bug in the Lumia 900 (by the way, you've read our Lumia 900 review, right?) that has been causing some early adopters -- regular consumers as well as reviewers -- to lose all data connectivity. As in, the phone kinda forgets the fact that, in fact, it is a phone. Not good, to say the least.

It's all fun and games to to mock the iPhone about problems real or imagined from 2007 and 2010, but it looks like Nokia would have been better off paying less attention to Apple and more attention to their own phones. And earnings. In 2012.

So. Yeah. Ouch.

To their credit, Nokia is going above and beyond to make it right, offering exchanges, a firmware fix, and a $100 credit. But maybe next time they should get the phone out first and start the negative campaigning second?

Source: WPCentral

Rene Ritchie
Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • I finally saw one of Nokia's commercials - I took the oneI saw to mean any prior Windows phone to their new one was a beta test :D
  • LOL You just might be right about that (former WM 6.5 user here)...
  • I owned several Nokia phones in my pre-iPhone days. One rather expensive model -- the N75 -- broke. I sent it back to Nokia for repair and it was returned to be twice saying they couldn't find the problem. The problem was the SIM card would not mount correctly and you couldn't make calls. Customer service told me their repair dept. doesn't check for call-making ability. I vowed then never ever to buy another Nokia phone.
  • So their repair dept. didn't even check to see if it could make phone calls (the most basic function of a phone)? Wow, just... wow.
    That sounds similar to what I went thru when I got Samsunged (Samsung Vibrant on T-Mobile USA... Need I say more? LOL). Samsung pretty much ignored me and T-Mo wasn't much help either. So I took it back. Stuff like that was why I switched to the iPhone 4.
  • Nokia has 2 problems : 1. they missed the smartphone boat when the volumes were starting to be significant 2. they are now also losing market share on dumb phones where Samsung, the share price is down to 12% of the 2008 peak.
    They could really become the next Palm or Blackberry, unthinkable a few years ago when they had 40% market share and excellent products.
    Bottom line : Apple better watch out by 2015 !
  • These Lumia-series phones are what Nokia needed about 2 years ago in order to be competitive today. So yeah, they did miss the boat... But regarding Apple needing to watch out by 2015, we don't know what Apple's strategy will be, and we don't know what the smartphone market will look like in a year, let alone 3 years from now. So, we'll just have to see about that...
  • My point was simply that in this ever accelerating world that we live in, even dominant/major players of an industry are at risk of going down in flames in just a few dozen months. Or make 1B$ with 15 employees in less than two dozen months ;-)
    All pretty incredible to me.
  • They didn't really miss the boat , since iPhone has been 90% the same as it was 2 years ago. Even with a late start, it's easy for Nokia to still be a part of the competition , due to the fact that Apple hasn't really changed much since their huge WOW effect they caused with iPhone.
  • I love my iPhone but it's FAR from perfect.
    Unlike you , I don't get drunk off of the Apple Koolaid ;)
    If you don't change and remain the same , the competition will eat you alive.
    The next iPhone better come with something mind blowing instead of just another tweaked out iPhone 4S.
  • That's... debatable. Apple's development on iOS and their hardware has been evolutionary rather than revolutionary, I'll agree there. But I'm still happy with the current state of iOS for the most part, so I'm OK with that. One man's stagnation is another man's consistency, I guess... When it comes to smartphones, Nokia did get left behind in the sense that they lost a lot of marketshare. That and they haven't really done too great a job of marketing themselves, at least not here in the US. That's changing now, and I hope it's not too little, too late.
    I agree that they still do have a chance, as long as they don't keep having all these bugs and MS don't screw up WP8. I actually like the Lumia series; I got to play around with the 710, 800, and 900 recently, and am impressed with the hardware, for the most part. But it just felt like something from last decade to me. Maybe it was due to the low screen resolution (that, or I'm just spoiled by my iPhone 4's retina display). That's why I said it was the phone they needed 2 years ago. I don't know; I just walked away kinda disappointed by it, as I had been seriously considering getting a 900. Still a solid device, but just not for me.
    But I am still rooting for Nokia and am waiting to see what WP8 devices they'll come out with later on this year. More competition is better for us all.
  • Well said Analog Spirit. :)
  • I think Microsoft is the living proof that you don't necessarily need to make big changes to stay dominant, their main cash cow (Office, not Windows) has been nothing but evolutionary and when they dared to changed the look and feel (Office 2007) they were criticised.
    Nokia on the other hand is the best counter example : innovation from time to time can be a good thing (Symbian). They have no choice left but to team up with MS and hope that the Metro UI will gain momentum thanks to simultaneous release on tablets,smartphones and PCs. Personally I am not convinced this will happen, quite the contrary, I see MS suffering from the proliferation of Android and iOS on tablets which will cause PCs to loose market share. Whether this will be the end game for Nokia remains to be seen...
  • I still like my now free Lumia 900.
  • Apple: Problem doesn't exist -> "Your holding it wrong" -> free case -> class action lawsuit -> $15 dollars (time span, very long)
    Nokia: Software fix coming in a week, free phone replacement, and $100 credit to your AT&T bill (time span, less then a week)
    PS: I don't really like the "beta tests" ads, but I would much rather there be an issue I identified in less then a week and receive $100 for it then listen to Apple tell me its my fault I don't get data.
  • Dan from WP Central will somehow spin this into a good thing for Microsoft and Nokia.
  • I don't know about Dan, but I read WPCentral too and saw Phil's article on it. Basically he was saying that, yeah, altho this is a pretty serious bug, at least Nokia are owning up to it and will make it right by compensating buyers $100 (essentially one free phone bill) and releasing a software patch for it on Monday (16 April). Here's the article:
  • That's the one I linked to as the source in the post :)
  • Oh, sorry, my bad; I hadn't noticed.
  • Unsubscribed. What is the purpose of all this petty snarkiness that seems to pervade gadget sites and ends up creating this massive circle jerk. You guys were doing such a good job and then you have to act like 3 year olds. Bye.
  • Dude now who's a 3 year old...this is iMore not WPCentral. This site is all things relating to Apple be it good or bad.
  • waves Cya later!
  • Oh wow. Damn, the writer of this article really threw some jabs, but the real sad part about it is that its all completely true.
  • Now that's funny!
  • i think you guys are taking that betatest thing too a level it wasnt meant too reach my L900 feels awesome, works awesome, but i have nothing against brand loyalty, cult worship on the otherhand is a whole 'nother story. :\. Fact is Nokias phones are beautiful and sleek just like the iphone design is unique from the iphone, and software is entirely different. Whether you like the iphone or metro they both get done what needs to get done and as far as apps go how can developers not develope apps and blame lack of enthusiasm? there will be none if dumbass devs dont write apps...
  • Because if WP7 phone sales haven't reached a critical mass, its not worthwhile for developers to put out apps for those devices.
    As more WP phones sell, more apps come out, then more apps sell, then more people buy WP phones - Rinse Repeat...
    But for now, early adopters of WP7 are doing so not for the app ecosystem, but for the device software they like.
    I love apps, and will stick with my iPhone for now. Eyes on WP8 it might be the one thing that might pull me away. Android certainly hasn't offered any real pratical incentive to switch.
  • absolutely i completely agree everyone will love what they love :D
  • I personally found those "iPhone beta test" commercials very hypocritical. The reason I found it hypocritical was because they kept talking about beta testing like it was a terrible thing when in reality it isn't. I've been both an alpha tester and a beta tester not for phone but for video games and have to say being a beta tester isn't half bad. First of you get to use the item or play the game much sooner than everyone else. In return all you have to do is report any bugs you find. For me personally being a beta tester isn't half bad. Anyway it's hypocritical because A phone that can be updated is a beta test hence why under the description it says (phone name beta patch 1.145435) or whatever patch number it is. If this phone isn't a beta test then that also means there is no user support which there is so it is really a beta test phone despite what their ad campaign says it is.
  • re: "talking about beta testing like it was a terrible thing"
    Beta testing by beta-testers is not bad, it is required.
    However, most people don't like finding out that they bought a test phone and that the company that sold it to them hadn't done the required testing before they sold it!
    This is what "community released" software is. A big company like MS would never treat theircustomers like that.
  • My sister was freaking out because she thought that the commercial was real and traded her chance to buy the new iPhone 4 for the new nokia phone so now her phone is all messed up and I hav the iPhone 4 so ha his apple is awesome
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