Nokia suffers embarrassment after bug hits new Windows-based phone

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Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer introducing Nokia's Lumia 900 during his keynote address at CES in Las Vegas, US. Photo - Getty

Nokia reported its Lumia 900 has been hit by a software bug and is giving away the model until it is fixed by programmers.

“It’s like they have stalled their engine when everybody is looking at them at the start of their race,” said Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi.

Lumia 900 is Nokia’s answer to Apple’s iPhone. It is Nokia’s first 4G phone that is being marketed under the tagline “an amazingly fast way to connect”. However, the bug renders the phone to occasionally lose its data connection.

Last year, Nokia lost its top position in smartphone sales thanks to cut-throat competition from companies like Apple and Google. Its weak performance in the US means the Finnish smartphone maker slipped to less than 1% market share.

Nokia’s Lumia 900 currently uses Microsoft’s Windows Phone Software and is only available in the US.

Nokia ditched its own Symbian system last year in favour of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system, and was introduced by AT&T on 8 April. The model, when launched in the January, won several awards at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Nokia said in its statement that a software update to fix the problem – a “memory management issue” related to phone’s software and not hardware – will be available by 16 April 2012.

The company has also announced that it is offering a $100 credit to their AT&T bill whoever purchased Lumia 900 by 21 April.

Costly Glitch

Many analysts say the software bug would affect Nokia and its products. The Finnish company’s global smartphone market share dropped to 12% in the fourth quarter last year from 30% a year earlier.

“I must say I have not encountered anything, but I have been impressed by their fortnight aggressive and undoubtedly costly response,” said John Jackson, a Boston-based analyst from CCS Insight, who also uses Lumia 900.

Meanwhile, Nokia’s shares slipped more than 50% since it switched to Microsoft in February last year. The sales of its Windows-based phones are yet to compensate for the decline. On Wednesday, company’s shares were down by 0.5%.

“To have a memory issue causing disruption to what was otherwise, apparently, a fairly good launch, with prime time ads and reasonable reviews, is the last thing they needed – particularly in the US,” said Tim Sheperd, an analyst at Canalys.

In late 2010, the Finnish pioneer of mobile phones brought in Stephen Elop, who earlier headed Microsoft’s business division. It was under his command that Nokia switched over to Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system to turn its fortunes.

Sources: Reuters, Digg

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