Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nokia confirms Lumia 900 released with software bug; fix already on the way

Nokia has confirmed a FUBAR: the AT&T Nokia Lumia 900, its big play at a huge re-entry into the U.S. market has a bug. This follows up on the other mistake AT&T made launching the phone on a huge national holiday, Easter Sunday.

The bug was seen by some, but not all, end users. The affected users had issues with connecting to AT&T's data network. The problem is a software bug, a memory-management issue on the phone. Nokia said that it is already shipping Lumia 900s with corrected software to retailers.

Those who already have a Lumia 900 can either go to AT&T and ask for a device swap or wait until a software update begins being distributed, starting around next Monday, April 16.

Those who purchased a Lumia 900 from Amazon Wireless or some other third party Internet retailer might have a little more difficulty with a device swap, or at least making sure the new device has the fix applied.

Amazon Wireless is selling the device for $49.99, $50 less than AT&T for a new activation or an upgrade to a family plan. Interestingly, individual plan upgraders (not new customers) can get the device for only $19.99.

In addition, Nokia said that it will issue a credit to all Lumia 900 owners, including those who are not experiencing the issue. The credit will extend to those who purchase the Lumia 900 before before midnight PT before midnight PT April 21.

For those buying at the subsidized price, this would mean a free Lumia 900, or possibly even a profit on the device (it is unclear if they will issue a $100 credit if you only paid $50, to Amazon Wireless, for example).

Nokia U.S. chief Chris Weber said “The customer always comes first, and I think we’re showing it here."

That's true, but not only will the credit cost Nokia a pretty penny, the whole incident costs it part of its reputation. Part of the campaign for the Lumia 900 has been that the iPhone is a "beta phone." It surely doesn't look well to see the Lumia 900 come out of the gate with a rather severe bug.

Update: Nokia released the fix early, on Friday, April 13. Unlike iOS and Android, though, who deliver updates OTA, you'll have to connect your smartphone to Zune (Windows) and Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac to do the update.

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