Motorola Censured: Atrix Is Not ‘The World’s Most Powerful Smartphone’

The UK’s advertising regulator has handed a victory to Samsung in the smartphone wars, by ruling Motorola (NYSE: MMI) misled consumers about one of its flagship devices.

The following TV ad claims Moto’s Atrix, which doubles as a laptop, is “the world’s most powerful smartphone”. But the Advertising Standards Agency received two complaints who claimed that honour actually goes to Samsung’s Galaxy S2.

In explaining itself to the ASA, Motorola argued that its claim referred to Atrix’s ability to slot in to a laptop dock to act as a laptop as well as its beefier battery, and not to its RAM or processor, which is a little less powerful than Samsung’s.

But the ASA says: “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.

“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 ASA has therefore ruled that Motorola breached the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.9 (Substantiation), 3.12 (Exaggeration) and 3.38 (Comparisons). The ASA says: “The claim ‘The world’s most powerful smartphone’ must not appear again.”

Moto’s current UK website now leads on the tagline: “The Power Of A PC In Your Pocket” – but its U.S. marketing remains the same.

The ASA does not disclose complainants’ identities, but they are likely to have been Samsung in this case.

China says Google’s has not yet sought required permission from it for its proposed purchase of Motorola Mobility.

Here is our comparison of the two handsets…;noround;noactions;noflags;header-font-size:12px;header-color:#555;header-border:none;header-padding:2px 5px;cell-font-size:12px;cell-border:none;cell-padding:2px;img-max-width:120px;img-max-height:90px

I’ve been using the S2 for a few weeks now, after using the S for some time, and it’s very quick. It’s due to launch in the U.S. on August 29.

Samsung is now adding phones to the line at a rate of knots…