Counterclockwise is our version of stories by the campfire. And as with any good campfire story, there needs to be exaggeration - this phone climbed Everest, the other crossed a desert, one launched into space.
Advertising mobile phones is a difficult job. People buy a new car every five years on average and have relatively few models to choose from. You get a new phone every year or two and there have been over 200 new models announced this year already.
So, phone ads need to have an impact and sometimes "publicity stunts" involve actual stunts. Like when Nokia and Verizon unveiled the Lumia 928 in May 2013, the phone was attached to a drone and flown through the Canadian wilderness to show off its optical stabilization.
Smartphones braving rough places is nothing new. In May 2011 the Samsung Galaxy S II became the first phone to send out a tweet from Mount Everest. The roof of the world had 3G coverage, which makes it all the more frustrating that you can't get a signal in that corner of your home.
While the Lumia 928 was playing with drones, Nokia also announced the Lumia 925. It was the GSM version of the 928, the only major difference between the two (other than connectivity) was that the xenon flash was dropped in favor of two LEDs.
That made the phone thinner and lighter, 8.8mm and 139g compared to 10.1mm and 162g for its Verizon sibling. Both shared a design with a metal frame around the sides and a polycarbonate back.
On that back was an 8.7MP camera with optical stabilization and f/2.0 aperture courtesy of Carl Zeiss lens. Two IHF microphones ensured high-quality audio for the 1080p video recorded by the camera, even in loud environments.
Camera aside, the rest of the specs weren’t on par with the competition in mid-2013. The 4.5" AMOLED screen had 768 x 1,280px resolution, old news for Android, as was the dual-core Krait processor with 1GB of RAM. Nokia also halved the built-in storage to 16GB and left out the microSD slot.
That was a blow compared to Verizon's Lumia 928, which had 32GB storage and also built-in wireless charging (you needed a case to enable Qi charging on the Lumia 925).
Verizon continued to get preferential treatment with the next flagship too – the Lumia Icon was released in February 2014, while the GSM-packing Lumia 930 wouldn’t come out until July. It has been pretty quiet on the Lumia flagship front since then.
Outside of big conventions, most phones are unveiled weeks apart. Some weeks though the stars align for multiple unveilings or at least weeks.
The week 5-11 of May saw major leaks for three of the major players in the smartphone world. It started on May 8 when we received a batch of photos showing the LG G3, the phone that showed us it's okay to have a humongous, super-sharp screen.
The following day we received details about four Samsung Galaxy models. The Galaxy S5 was revealed though at the time we were looking at wrong model, what proved to be the Galaxy S5 LTE-A. It had a QHD screen before the Galaxy S6, newer Snapdragon 805 chipset too. It turned out this was a Korea-only model, the rest of the world got a 1080p screen and Snapdragon 801.
Then on the 11th multiple iPhone 6 rumors hit. The design was spot on – rounded and iPod touch-inspired. Some of the features though, like the water resistance, proved to be a lie despite all photos of an iPhone 6 prototype in a sink full of water.