Nokia Lumia Smartphone
September 10, 2012

Nokia’s Lies: Faked Pictures and Video from Nokia’s Lumia Cast Doubt on PureView Technology

Michael Harper for — Your Universe Online

Nokia is a company in a pickle. Suffices it to say, the once market leader has seen better days. Their Lumia smartphone partnership with Windows has not been a total failure, however, and even Siri once said she preferred it.

Microsoft and Nokia have been working on a new Lumia which will run the new Windows Phone 8, and they would like people to be excited about it, to talk about its NFC, its Nokia Maps and it´s PureMotion HD+ Display. Therefore, in an attempt to not be completely drowned out for the rest of the year by Apple´s announcements about its new iPhone 5, Nokia rushed to get their newest Lumia phones in front of the public´s eye last week. Unfortunately, now the only thing people seem to be talking about vis-à-vis the new Lumia is that PureView Camera technology and how the demo videos and still shots from the announcement were completely faked.

Nokia has been making great built-in cameras for years, and this year´s technology in the Lumia line was set to be some of the best. However, shortly after a demo video at the Nokia press event highlighting the PureView Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), some eagle-eyed reporters from The Verge noticed something peculiar in the video: Namely, a suspicious white van. The demo video for the PureView OIS showed a happy young man videoing his happy young lady friend as they rode bikes together along a river. The video was intended to show off the difference between video shot without OIS and video shot with the technology enabled. And what better way to demonstrate this than with a video taken from a moving bicycle, right?

The first segment of the video, without OIS enabled, was obviously very shaky and hard to watch. The second segment was much smoother: There was less bouncing, the image was clearer, and the young girl even seemed to smile a bit more. Then, the pair biked in front of a parked camper, and as they passed, there appeared a peculiar flash in the camper´s windows. The Verge has the slowed down the fraudulent video on their site, which reveals that the video wasn´t taken with a Lumia 920. Instead, it was taken with a professional camera crew, driving alongside the giddy young girl with proper lighting and what could have been a DSLR or another professional camera.

The Verge ran the story and Nokia soon after issued an apology, saying, “Hindsight is 20/20, but we should have posted a disclaimer stating this was a representation of OIS only. This was not shot with a Lumia 920. At least, not yet. We apologize for the confusion we created.”

One day later, The Verge again pointed out that the still images Nokia used to show off the PureView technology´s ability to take low-light shots might have also been faked, taken by a professional photography team.

And again, Nokia confessed their folly, admitting that these stills weren´t stills at all, and were pulled from the earlier faked video from segments that weren´t used. Said Nokia, “Indeed, a Lumia 920 was not used to illustrate the benefits of optical image stabilization and we regret the error. The other still images in this post were extracted from that video.”

Nokia later reached out to The Verge, wanting to show the bloggers themselves the Lumia 920´s low-light capabilities during a one-off, late night Central Park shoot. The Verge has since admitted that the Lumia does, in fact, “take very good low-light images.”

This leaves those of us watching this unfortunate drama unfold to wonder: Why all the fuss?

Based on what we´ve seen, it appears as if Nokia was simply worried that there wouldn´t be any “mind share” left for them after a series of epic iPhone 5 announcements (a fair concern) and opted instead to rush their product to demo. Taking a product to demo too hastily, however, can be just as precarious as rushing a product to market. For all the bragging Nokia did about their PureView camera technology (bragging which may or may not  be deserved), they also left out two very important details about the new smartphone: availability and pricing.

Much like a rushed Microsoft product announcement from a few months back, Nokia simply announced they have plans to release a product at some point in the future. Windows Phone 8 launches next month, so it´s likely that we´ll see one of the new Nokia Lumia 920s sometime after that. But according to The Verge´s super special Central Park shootout, Nokia is still using prototypes to show off their PureView technology and does not yet have their OIS for video finished and ready for production.

There are many who root for Nokia to come from behind and become a serious contender on the smartphone market once again. Flubs like these, however, show that perhaps Nokia is where they are in the standings for a reason.