Ad watchdog bites Motorola over 'most powerful' claim

Motorola must never again claim that its Atrix Android handset is 'the world's most powerful smartphone', the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled

The UK's advertising standards watchdog has ordered Motorola not to repeat its claim that its Atrix handset is "the world's most powerful smartphone".

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said on Wednesday that TV advertising for the Atrix indicated that the Android phone was more powerful than any of its rivals. However, two people complained that Samsung's Galaxy S II had a better claim to that description.

Samsung's flagship Android phone has a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, while the Atrix has a dual-core 1GHz processor. Motorola tried to argue the Atrix is more powerful because it can be plugged into a dock, allowing it to power more fully-featured apps than otherwise possible, but the ASA rejected this.

"[Motorola] said, when the phone was docked into the unique HD dock or the standalone Lapdock, [the Atrix] powered a full desktop browser, whilst providing support for cloud-based computing and full virtual Windows desktop via [a] Citrix account," the ASA said. "They said, although the Samsung Galaxy S II i9100 had a slightly faster processor, it did not operate the unique computer-like accessory ecosystem that the Atrix did."

It also said the Atrix has a 20-percent more powerful battery than any of its competitors, the ASA noted.

In its explanation, Motorola said it had used the word "powerful" to describe the combination of technical features found in the phone and its accessories, rather than the smartphone's processor. However, the ad authority believed viewers would not get this impression.

We considered the claim 'The world's most powerful smartphone' had not been substantiated by comparative evidence and concluded that it was misleading.

– ASA

"While we acknowledged the ad showed the phone being used with other associated accessories, we considered viewers would understand the claim 'The world's most powerful smartphone', along with a close-up of the phone, to mean the phone, in isolation, was the most powerful smartphone," the ASA said.

The watchdog went on to say that a strong combination of features did not necessarily make the product "powerful".

"Because the Samsung Galaxy S II i9100 had a faster processor than the Atrix, we considered the claim 'The world's most powerful smartphone' had not been substantiated by comparative evidence and concluded that it was misleading," the authority said, banning Motorola from repeating the claim.

ZDNet UK has approached Motorola for comment on the adjudication, but had received none at the time of writing.


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