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April 2, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Nokia makes sly fun of iPhone as Lumia 900 prepares for launch

lumia900.jpgLast week, AT&T revealed big marketing plans for the Lumia 900, Nokia’s top-of-the-line smartphone running on the Windows Phone platform, which is set to hit store shelves April 8.

Now, Nokia has launched what’s certain to be the first of many marketing volleys with a viral campaign at www.smartphonebetatest.com.

The site features video of an anchorman — Saturday Night Live alum Chris Parnell — waiting impatiently, under a countdown clock. It also has three more videos making fun of the vulnerabilities of the iPhone (though it never names the phone by name.) One video spoofs “Antennagate” — where some users lost signal strength when they held their iPhones a certain way, dubbed the “death grip.” The other two vids spoof the iPhone’s fragility and screen that can be hard to see in bright sunlight.

Here’s the “death grip” video:

[do action=”custom_iframe” width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/MGwY70jkdY4

Now, the smartphonebetatest website doesn’t actually say it’s by Nokia. But wpcentral points to several pieces of evidence that the Finnish phonemaker is behind the viral campaign, including a Java script link-back to Nokia.com on the source code for the Web page.

Detailing these shortcomings of the iPhone could be one way that Nokia is planning to highlight the strengths of the Lumia 900, which is both Nokia and Microsoft’s great hope for making a dent in the global smartphone market. Neither company has been successful in gaining great smartphone market share, as Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms have dominated.

Nokia last week declined to detail its marketing plans for the Lumia 900, other than to say: “The Nokia Lumia 900 marketing is a joint promotion between Nokia and AT&T and both are committed to doing what is needed to make it a success.”

AT&T’s Jeff Bradley, senior VP of devices, meanwhile, detailed an aggressive promo push for the Lumia 900, including making it the “hero” device at AT&T stores. That means there will be large displays featuring the phone, extensive training on the phone’s features for store sales reps, and getting the Lumia 900 into the hands of a majority of those sales reps so they can, in turn, talk up the phone to customers.

Bradley declined to say how much AT&T is spending on the effort but says it’s a “substantial amount.”

The carrier began taking pre-orders for the Lumia 900 last week, as did Walmart. (Those who pre-order from AT&T will be getting their phones on April 6, according to Ubergizmo.)

(Image of Lumia 900 from Microsoft)

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