Nokia asks Russia for help retrieving N8 prototype

The phone giant says a blogger has an unauthorised prototype of the future phone

Nokia has asked Russian authorities to help retrieve what it says is an unauthorized model of a future phone that a blogger wrote about and photographed on a phone review site.

The scenario is reminiscent of a recent situation where U.S. police tracked down a man who had found an iPhone 4 prototype and sold it to Gizmodo.

On Wednesday, Nokia wrote in a blog post that it had asked Russian authorities for help with the return of Nokia property in the possession of Eldar Murtazin, a blogger. In April, Murtazin wrote a brief blog post, in Russian, on the Mobile Review site that included photos of the N8. The N8, which will be the first phone to run the first open-source version of Symbian, isn't yet available.

Nokia says that it formally requested the return of the phone from Murtazin but got no response.

Murtazin, who does not appear to have disclosed how he got the phone, acknowledges that he got a vague letter from Nokia asking for the return of unauthorized property. He says that he replied with questions including a request for Nokia to specify what property it is referring to and has not received a reply.

He also says that he has tried repeatedly to contact Nokia about the phone but has not received replies.

Murtazin did not immediately reply to a request for comment left late in the day in Russia.

In its blog post, Nokia repeatedly says that its decision to work with Russian authorities is not related to Murtazin's criticisms of the company. "To be clear, we have no issue with individuals voicing their opinions about our company and our products," Nokia representative "Phil" wrote in the post.

Murtazin is the editor of the Mobile Review site and appears to do some consulting with phone makers. His Twitter profile describes him as an editor and analyst "working on some future phones with A-brands."

His potential role as a consultant worries Nokia. "Whether Mr. Murtazin's actions were as a blogger, or whether he is acting in the capacity of a consultant in order to provide information to his clients is an open question," according to the blog post.

In April, Apple reported to police that a prototype of the iPhone 4 had been stolen after Gizmodo wrote about the phone. Authorities identified college student Brian Hogan as the man who found the phone in a bar and offered it to Gizmodo in exchange for US$5,000.

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