Nokia is taking extreme measures to rectify a glitch found in some Lumia 900 smartphones, offering new and existing customers a $100 credit for their troubles.
Some early Lumia 900 customers found that their phones failed to get a data connection, an issue Nokia confirmed and said it is fixing. As a peace offering, the company is offering this promotion both to appease existing customers and entice potential new ones, with the $100 fully covering the $99.99 handset.
There's a lot riding on the launch of the Lumia 900, which Nokia is banking on heavily as its comeback vehicle in the U.S. There were a lot of expectations built up ahead of its launch on Sunday. The drastic measure taken by Nokia only further underscores how important the device is to the company and to the Windows Phone platform.
"We wanted to send a message that we're not only solving the problem in an expedited fashion, but that we're going above beyond and beyond to not only fix the issue and give you something for your inconvenience," Chris Weber, head of Nokia's North American business, said in an interview with CNET.
The glitch was a result of the way the phone manages memory and is a software issue, Weber said, stressing that it was not a hardware issue or a problem with AT&T's network. Weber declined to comment on how many phones were affected. He said it was a limited number but that it was big enough to warrant this action.
Nokia has identified the problem, and phones with the fix will appear in stores over the next few days, he said. Customers can either swap out their phones at AT&T stores or wait for a software update on April 16 that will resolve the issue.
Weber said he would recommend all Lumia 900 customers download the update whether they are experience data connectivity issues or not.
Tech companies have reacted in a variety of ways to resolve issues with their products. Apple, for instance, resolved its iPhone 4 Antennagate controversy by giving away free bumper covers to its customers. Research in Motion gave away free apps and technical support.
Weber said the promotion lasts until midnight on April 21. Consumers who place their order before that time will be eligible for the credit, even if they don't get the phone in time or it is out of stock.
But to essentially underwrite the entire cost of the phone is a fairly aggressive approach for Nokia. Not only are existing customers compensated, but potential new customers have an excuse to try out the Lumia 900 with minimal financial risk. Weber declined to say how much this promotion would cost, noting that it would depend on demand for the phone.
Nokia badly needs the Lumia 900 to be a hit. Weber said he was seeing great consumer buzz and excitement over the product but declined to provide details on sales figures so early into the launch.