Nokia has began what is now known as the Smartphone Beta Test (aka Operation Rolling Thunder for some) – a campaign to advertise the Lumia 900 by poking fun at the iPhone 4’s “death grip controversy” by showing several “hidden video” clips of the iPhone 4’s reception issue (not iPhone 4S) featuring ex-Saturday Night Live alum Chris Parnell. The ads were reported to have been airing during NBA games on Sunday. The whole gist is that iPhone 4 and its predecessors were beta tests for the real phone: Nokia’s Lumia 900.
WPCentral found the website which stands to be the hub for the campaign and it deliberately doesn’t mention Nokia or the Lumia 900. Instead, the reader sees a countdown clock to April 6 – just two days ahead of the Lumia 900’s launch at AT&T. WPCentral also cleverly found images within the directory of the site which held references to AT&T and Nokia items which, since the report, has since been restricted from public viewing.
The ads look to be the work of veteran ad agency Butler, Shine, Stern and Partners, given the fact that they have been posting to Twitter related messages using the hashtag #BetaPhone. Reactions to the videos at this point are expectedly mixed. It’s a pretty bold move for AT&T to endorse this type of an attack on one of its top products, and it shows exactly how serious AT&T is about the Lumia 900 launch.
The Lumia 900 preorder went online over the weekend. While we knew that AT&T was pricing the phone very aggressively — under $100 — what was a surprise was that the carrier is now offering the phone for free to new subscribers.