19
Oct
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UPDATE 3: EVLeaks has now rescinded his previous statements.

While we don't appreciate the manner in which EVLeaks (and others) initially approached this situation with conspiracy theories, baseless accusations, and speculation, we appreciate EVLeaks' withdrawal of previous comments, and our readers' support through the entire episode. Going forward we will continue to maintain our standard of ethics while delivering newsworthy content.

UPDATE 2: The original hoaxster, Ti Kawamoto has just tweeted another confirmation:

UPDATE: This story has developed a bit since initial publication, so I'll give a brief recap for those who missed it. After publication, a disgruntled commenter called "Disgusted" posted a series of accusatory comments, suggesting that I, and by extension the entire AP team, was behind the Sony Nexus X hoax.

The reasoning for this was a Google+ post I published after the initial debunking, showing a Photoshop creation I had made to point out the ease with which such a device could be whipped up (like I did when debunking a Galaxy SIII leak way back when). This image may have been included in the debunking post, but by my estimation was not of high enough quality.

Further, the hoaxster wrote a specific shout out to AP for investigating the original image.

Twitter user and noted source of leaked devices and information, EVLeaks followed up on those comments by tweeting the following:

This was swiftly proven incorrect. The original hoaxster has just revealed himself (and his name) again on Gizmodo. Check here for the story.

Original Story:

There's no doubt this Nexus season has been tumultuous. Spurred by a game of rumor telephone initiated by the Wall Street Journal that we may see multiple Nexus phones this year, it seems that creating elaborate hoaxes has become something of a sport. First, we had Peter, who created, then explained, one of the most detailed hoaxes we've seen in a while.

Another notable fake that passed across our front page recently related to a purported Sony Nexus X device. We had reservations about its validity for a variety of reasons, and it looks like our instincts were right.

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In a post to a newly-created Tumblr account, an anonymous source, who says he (or she) created the Sony Nexus X images, explains the process of creating and watching the hoax grow wildly, all in a long infographic that you should probably take a look at.

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So how did our endeavoring hoaxster do it? Contrary to my initial impressions, it wasn't just the work of Photoshop. The original renders, which were later photographed on a computer monitor with a Galaxy Nexus (to reproduce the blurry-cam aesthetic and EXIF data we all know and love), were created primarily using Blender, a 3D modeling program. This explains why the renders' perspective seemed to be spot on. The hoaxster even went so far as to render a plane for the reflection of a hand on the device's screen (which, as the hoaxster points out, wasn't flipping us the bird after all).

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As for the device itself? The infographic covers that too. To create a compelling and convincing image, the hoaxster combined aesthetic and structural elements from a variety of Sony Xperia devices, and sprinkled in features sought after by the Nexus crowd. The inexplicable home screen aside, the graphic explains in great detail why each decision was made.

Why would someone do this? I can almost hear your hearts crying. The hoaxster explains:

To be honest, I cooked this scheme up on Saturday, October 13th without a whole lot of initial thought behind it. As a fun exercise in 3D device modeling, I was already halfway finished with my vision of an ideal-yet-not-too-pie-in-the-sky rendering of a Sony designed Nexus device. Nothing nefarious here, folks; just a guy sharpening his skills.

While catching up on the latest info pertaining to the LG Nexus 4, I wondered to what degree leaks like this are promoted by the original source before a news agency picks them up.

Of course, once the "leak" took off, it was another story – the hoaxster goes on in a very wordy conclusion to explain their observations on the entire episode, noting the varying degrees to which tech outlets covered, or lent credulity to, the rendered images, giving an "extra special shout out" to us for taking a moment to step back and think about what we were seeing.

The post wraps up with general observations about the state of tech journalism, the Internet, mobile tech, and, finally, human action's inability to be accurately predicted.

Regardless of your feelings about the hoaxster or a Sony Nexus device or even the LG Nexus, this hoax and its subsequent explanation serve as a very valuable anecdote for future rumor seasons.

To read the full story (which you definitely should), hit the link below.

Source: Anatomy of a Hoax Via Xperia Blog

Liam Spradlin
Liam loves Android, design, user experience, and travel. He doesn't love ill-proportioned letter forms, advertisements made entirely of stock photography, and writing biographical snippets.

  • Kshitij Parajuli

    Props to him! I was really impressed.

  • skymoon31

    I like the wallpaper used .

  • http://www.facebook.com/dgemus Don Gemus

    At least I know the Butterfly J exists. Now only to Nexus brand it.

  • Ryan Wallace

    Hats off to that guy.

  • garychencool

    To be honest, that is a pretty good Photoshop hoax.

    • Ian Santopietro

      Yeah, it's such a good photoshop hoax that photoshop wasn't even used!

      • http://twitter.com/redbullcat Phil Oakley

        He used it to create the textures.

  • Disgusted

    Liam himself is the hoaxster. Shameful. Prepare for the backlash.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      You're right. As we speak, I'm preparing an even LONGER infographic about how I pulled it off.

      • Disgusted

        Where did you get the Nexus X render you put up on G Plus?

        • Disgusted

          Come on Liam, where did you get a render of the fake phone?

          • Disgusted

            Here's the render, for those who are interested:

            https://plus.google.com/photos/116620300481426171696/albums/posts/5799757762632436098?banner=pwa

            How on earth did he happen to acquire such an image?

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            He made it to see how easily it would be to make something like that? From an Xperia Ion.

          • Disgusted

            Why are you avoiding people who are trying to ping you about this? This hoax is going to sting your site, hopefully very badly now that you are intimately involved in the cover-up.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

            It was me, Disgusted. I was on the grassy knoll that day. With a copy of Photoshop and too much time on my hands.

          • http://twitter.com/TeamAndIRC Justin Case

            Bullshit, stop taking credit for my beautifully crafted work. You all know I am the only one with gimp skillz

          • PhilNelwyn

            Don't mind him, guys.
            Just give him the middle finger... :P

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            ╭∩╮(︶︿︶)╭∩╮

          • New_Guy

            With Biggy, Pac, and Elvis...hahah!

          • http://twitter.com/TeamAndIRC Justin Case

            Avoiding? Are you blind he replied. I'm not sure if you are just really bad at trolling, or seriously lost. I truly wish Liam had done it, sadly I know he didn't.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            Who am I avoiding now? Just go away to your tinfoil-covered room already.

          • New_Guy

            No it's not....

          • squiddy20

            Dude, after looking at the render for no more than 5 seconds, I saw two glaring inconsistencies. First, the Play Store icon is a heck of a lot smaller than any of the other app icons. Secondly, its positioning gives the appearance that there are something like 10 rows and 6 columns, which I'm pretty sure is not possible with *any* stock launcher.
            Additionally, if this were a real render, wouldn't there be something more on the screen like a calendar widget, a photo widget, or *something* other than the stock app tray and a Play Store app icon?
            How could you claim this to be a real render from Google or a manufacturer when it's sooooo... crappy? (No offense, Liam. For about 20 minutes worth of work, that's a hell of a lot better than I'll ever do.)

        • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

          Just to clear this up (again) closer to the top, the G+ image is far from a render. It is the product of a hasty 20 minute Photoshop session in which I attempted to recreate the render for inclusion in the post. Just take a look at it - it's not very good. That's why I didn't include it, and why I casually threw it on G+. Take off the tin foil, and check for sarcasm.

  • TheFirstUniverseKing

    Very cool of him to come clean and actually explain how the hoax was performed. Although this does mean that the LG Nexus 4 will likely be the only Nexus phone released this year...which sucks. I was sort of looking forward to a Sony Nexus.

  • Disgusted

    You all need to stop praising him. There are enough hoaxes in this industry without a blogger pulling off one himself. And then pretending like it wasn't him. I hope this blows up in your face, Liam.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Maybe my sarcasm wasn't clear - it wasn't me who started the hoax. I just reported on it. Afterward I opened up Photoshop to see just how easy creating that kind of image would be. The picture on Google+ took me about 20 minutes, and is based on the Xperia Ion. It wasn't good enough to include in the post as a point, so I threw it on G+. Hope that clears it up.

      • Disgusted

        Nope, not even close. It's an awful lie. Not believable in the slightest.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          OK, psycho.

        • Larizard

          It's weird. Why would Liam post it on Google+. Why even bother post it anywhere? So Liam is a bit self-destructive, is what I can gather from this. So he elaborately created a hoax, then posted proof that he did it on G+, just so that he can be shot down and by extension, Android Police, by people like you.

          Sense?

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            Liam is a designer, he posts random things he designs on his G+. He's also a sarcastic bastard sometimes. His comment was "the Nexus X is real after all." As in, look, I analyzed the Nexus X and concluded it was fake. Anybody can do this shit all day long and fake things very easily. Here's something that looks just like the real deal I just threw together in 20 minutes, it must mean the Nexus X is real!!!11one.

      • http://twitter.com/Stoutlagger Rob

        What did you do to @Disgusted Liam? Take his mother out for a nice seafood dinner and never call her again? Dorothy Mantooth is a Saint!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I appreciate conspiracy theorists always exist, but you're just plain accusing him of something. Of course, because you're a conspiracy nut and a coward, you're doing it anonymously and without anything to back it up. That's because there is nothing to back it up with.

      • Disgusted

        You're just making yourself look worse here, going on the attack when it's very clear that Android Police was behind this hoax. Praising yourselves in the admission post was a classy and smart move.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          You're like an annoying fly that just wouldn't go away. It's getting sad at this point.

        • Bruno Pedro

          are you retarded or just a stupid troll?

        • John A

          What is wrong with you??? If you are making this allegation, you need to; 1. show who you are and 2. back up your allegations with some facts. At the moment you just look like a cowardly loonbag!!!!

    • Scott

      We need the ability to downvote you into oblivion.

    • http://www.facebook.com/vivecuervo7 Isaac Dedini

      Haha look at this keyboard warrior. All I have seen in this is AP disproving the hoax, unless you actually have some solid proof that you haven't shared with anyone?

    • http://twitter.com/Telanis_ Telanis

      Whooooooore

  • nsnsmj

    :(

    I wanted a Sony Nexus to be real

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    So in addition to Disgusted, @evleaks accused AP of faking the Sony Nexus X based on complete bullshit http://twitter.com/evleaks/statuses/259409881608626178 and http://twitter.com/evleaks/statuses/259406803232772096. (We suspect Disgusted is part of @evleaks).

    The real hoaxer just came out on Reddit and Gizmodo: http://gizmodo.com/5953355/anatomyofahoax.tumblr.com.

    @evleaks, go fuck yourself. Next time, try to get some real proof before you publicly spew accusations in public like that.

    • Disgusted

      Convenient for you that the anonymous hoaxster decided to out himself just minutes after these accusations were made. Why bother with the the anonymous blog and twitter account if you're going to reveal yourself just hours later? You know this guy, and have known who he is the entire time.

      AP has been intimately involved in this hoax from the beginning, from debunking it (twice) to getting praised on the admission blog to the actual use of your comment form there. Not to mention urging readers to visit said blog at the end of this post. And then there's the render, which Liam made "just to see how easy it was."
      There are too many cooincidences here, not the least of which is both party's intimate association with Reddit. And telling me to fuck myself, calling me crazy, an annoying fly, a troll? Innocent people don't behave that way.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1071132386 Jimmy Chen

        Maybe he outed himself because he saw someone else taking heat for something they didn't do?

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

        "Convenient for you that the anonymous hoaxster decided to out himself just minutes after these accusations were made." ...ON GIZMODO.

        Take your pills.

        Sometimes, people call you crazy because you ARE crazy.

      • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

        Your theory is flawed.
        We reported on the initial images only after they were picked up by Xperia Blog, several days after the hoaxer says they were created.
        As for being praised in the admission, Android Police happens to be a popular outlet for Android news and information. The fact that someone likes our content is not tantamount to conspiracy.
        The render I posted is no different than the one I made (and published here) for a Galaxy SIII leak earlier this year.
        What, exactly, does Reddit have to do with this?
        As for your last point, sane people don't continue to post vicious accusations in comments to an online blog (or Twitter) after being undeniably discredited.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

        Is this actually where you're going to take this now? Every piece of evidence you presented has been, at best, circumstantial. The rest of it is just empty flinging of accusations, and now ad hominem attacks regarding our popularity on Reddit? Come on, man.

        Do you think we appreciate it when someone calls our credibility as a journalistic outlet into question? Do you think we don't take that seriously? I'm honestly asking you, because it seems like you believe falsely accusing someone of generating a rather substantial hoax is something the accused has no right to be outraged at. I'm going to go ahead and say we have every right.

        If you expect us to just sit idly by while someone rather aggressively attacks our reputation, and accuses us of attempting to deceive our readers (and many other tech sites), you must have a pretty interesting view of the world.

        I thought that by now you would have realized you were wrong, but apparently any piece of evidence we could present would just make you dig deeper down the conspiracy theory rabbit hole. You haven't even suggested one thing we could do to prove to you that it wasn't us - you've already decided it was.

        If at some point you're ready to discuss this like a rational human being, you know how to reach us. We aren't going to play endless comment ping-pong.

        • Disgusted

          Why, out of all the comment forms in the world, did the hoaxster choose AP's to include in his blog? Why did Artem refuse to answer questions about this incident until he was publicly called out? Why is the hoaxster repeatedly namechecking AP, and why is AP acknowledging the "shout outs" and urging people to visit his site?

          If you are true journalists -- and I believe that you are -- one would expect you to loathe people who try to fool you and possibly cause real world damage like fluctuating stock prices. Instead, you're giving him even more publicity, and other folks more impetus to repeat his behaviour.

          Can you honestly say that none of you have ever interacted with this gentleman on Reddit before?

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

            As far as I am aware, we haven't ever interacted with him. We had no idea who this person was until today. He's just some graphic designer that A.) likes Android, and B.) apparently reads Android Police.

            I don't know why he chose our tip form - maybe because he reads our site? Or started to after we reported on it initially? And we were cited a fair bit for our analysis / skepticism of what at the time we believed to be a photo of something that actually, physically existed. We didn't even know it was a 3D render. We always link back to the source of the information - this guy's tumblr was the source of the information in this article. It's as simple as that. Why would we fabricate a hoax and then have the guy break his identity on Gizmodo and a random tumblr account, and report on it significantly after a lot of other people? It doesn't make sense. And I personally am not sure what you're talking about in terms of "refusing to answer questions."

            I hope I've answered *your* questions - because that's about all I can do. If you refuse believe the responses, I can't help you.

          • Disgusted

            "To read the full story (which you definitely should)"

            That's more than a link, it's an endorsement.

            And I'm still not sure why someone would "out" themselves on Gizmodo and now Twitter when they wouldn't do so on a personal Tumblr account. Or why that person continued to praise AP in the Giz comments. Or why Liam supposedly whipped up a nearly identical render, just to show how easy it was, when apparently it wasn't easy enough to produce an example that warranted posting to the site. (Why not spend more than 20 minutes, if your goal was to provide real proof?) And as I stated, both Artem and Liam were pinged about this issue numerous times without response.

            If you all are truly innocent and have never met this man before, then I sincerely apologize. But I don't think that's the case -- this feels like a hoax cooked up on Reddit and designed to make AP look like a hero and give the hoaxster a chance to show off his talent to the world.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

            If you want to actually discuss this, email me - you know where. At this point, I think we've all heard your position, and I don't really feel like repeating mine.

          • Disgusted

            "At this point, I think we've all heard your position, and I don't really feel like repeating mine."

            It seems that we really don't have much to discuss then. You can't prove a negative, and because of the way both the hoaxster and AP reacted to this situation, you'll not convince me that you were not associated with one another.

            And to Liam, below: either it was easy to replicate what this guy did, or it wasn't. You can't have your cake and eat it too. Your logic sort of falls apart here, and I'd love to know why you really posted that image.

          • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

            Just to clear this up - I was never pinged. By anyone. I didn't need the image I created to prove the render was a fake.
            Your crusade to prove that we somehow had something to do with this is appalling. As Artem already said, you've wasted more than enough of our time, and I'm done participating in this conversation.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            I don't know why that person did everything he did, but now that we know his identity, you can actually ask him. He's quite responsive on both Reddit and in the comments. Why don't you do some journalism and report back?

            You're reading into it way too much. Sometimes, things are what they are just because. You're seeing things where they don't exist.

            "And as I stated, both Artem and Liam were pinged about this issue numerous times without response." Multiple times? Who, may I ask, pinged me besides Taylor? Or you mean if someone IMs you and you don't immediately respond, that means they're automatically guilty of something (and more importantly, what would me responding right away with a "fuck no, it's not Liam" vs responding when I did change?)? Or who pinged Liam at all?

            Yes, I came back from lunch, saw about a billion things flashing and a good several dozen new emails, then Taylor sent another message, and I immediately replied.

            Here's the beginning of my conversation with Taylor on gTalk:

            Friday, October 19, 2012 1:16:25 PM
            [1:16:25 PM] Taylor Wimberly (AndroidAndMe): so was Liam behind that sony nexus hoax?
            [1:34:19 PM] Taylor Wimberly (AndroidAndMe): are you around?
            Taylor Wimberly (AndroidAndMe) is available 1:52:45 PM
            [2:16:38 PM] Taylor Wimberly (AndroidAndMe): let me know when you get back. i got a quick question for you
            [2:16:44 PM] Artem Russakovskii: sup

            Now do the right thing, remove the tweets with the lies, and apologize. You're just losing your previously pretty high credibility with every person who sees them and then the facts.

          • Disgusted

            I wish I could believe you, Artem, but you are a nasty man. One who seems determined to get the last word in here, despite the fact that this is a "waste of your time." If you weren't so vicious, so insulting, and so prone to expletives, I could overlook what seems to be compelling evidence that there is an association between AP and the perpetrator of this hoax. Unfortunately, your attitude does nothing to persuade me; you know what they say about he who doth protest too much...

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            I'm not a nasty man, not at all, but when someone slaps me in the face, then does it two more times, I can't not take it personally. If someone slandered you on the web, in public as unconditionally as you did, maybe you'd understand how it felt.

          • Disgusted

            How many times, publicly and privately, did you tell me to go fuck myself? And how many times did you offer a reasoned, non-agressive argument of why I was way off base?

            You could learn a lesson in diplomacy from your senior editor, who seems to be the only one here willing to set his ego aside and offer a legitimate explanation for what seems like a highly suspicious series of events.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            You have got to be kidding me. I didn't want to mention Taylor Wimberly's involvement in all this, but it seems like he was feeding you most of the info and knows who you are. He was the only one who IMed me about this to ask if Liam was involved - an IM I saw when I came back to my computer after lunch and responded to. I didn't refuse to answer anything. I came back, saw your idiotic comments that you were spewing at the rate of 5 per minute, then Taylor's message. Then the first @evleaks tweet came in.

            Seriously, just get it through your head, there's no conspiracy here - we didn't stoop this low not with the previous hoaxer, not with this one.
            Yes, there is a reference to AP - the first hoaxer came out in one of AP's comments, the 2nd one gave us a shout, both times for not biting the bait and either ignoring the tip completely or performing a very detailed analysis of it and taking our time. Everything in both of these situations (the 4.2 hoaxer and the Sony Nexus X) is circumstantial when it comes to any AP connections. I don't know how I can further convey this message to both you and Taylor, but your comments went from being mildly amusing to downright insulting. I understand that you both want to find someone to blame and take the fall for A&M posting rumors as if they came from a legitimate source, but you won't find it here.

            We are reporters, and we dislike fakes, especially ones that are not obvious, for the reasons that if we reported on them and they turned out to be fake, it'd be our reputation on the line. That is why we examine the evidence first. And when a confirmation of our analysis comes through and is detailed as deep as this one was, you'd be damn right we're going to link to it and report on it. It's all part of being a journalist/responsible blogger. Hey, look, he gave us a shout for being thorough - great. Not going to cry about it. Either way, there's no loathing involved - it's part of the job. You clearly don't think so. You must be a hit at parties.

            Yes, I can honestly say I have never interacted with this person on Reddit or otherwise, to my knowledge. Have I ever responded to his comments there? I have no idea. I comment a lot. I've never heard of his nick or name until today.

            You've taken enough of my time today. Now do us all a favor and just go away.

          • Disgusted

            Still doesn't pass the smell test. People like this cause stock prices to move up and down, and small investors to lose money in any number of situations. Hoaxes are a very serious matter. If you weren't friendly with this guy, you should be a lot more critical of what he did. But the fact is that both of came out of this debacle with a win. He got to show off his skills, and you got to look like clever debunkers.

            This is not how you'd expect either party to react in this situation, and as you yourself just mentioned, this is not the first hoax that AP has been intimately involved with. Sorry, I just don't buy it.

          • http://twitter.com/Telanis_ Telanis

            You're a whore.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bella.pease.75 Bella Pease

    Can you imagine the terrible co-incidence if this fake matched a real Sony prototype? Right now some poor intern, is tied to a chair with chopsticks stuck up his nose, with Daphne & Celeste on loop, the inhumanity.

  • Freak4Dell

    Ha...I knew he wasn't flipping anybody off.

  • Jesus Martinez

    Dear Digusted,
    It's simply a hoax, of a phone... a *****ing phone!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's not 911 all over again. Get over it. ****ers do things online all the time. Just because this is a phone, doesn't make it any more newsworthy than the ****ing moon landing!!! If you feel you have been cheated, then go to gizmodo or engadget. Believe me, you and maybe the three others who would never return to this site, won't make a dent in the websites revenue, or hits.

    • Disgusted

      You have no idea what hoaxes can do. Clearly you don't have a dollar invested in a company whose share volatility due to a hoax could wipe you out. I've seen it happen. Do you think that people losing thousands of dollars, or more, is "no big deal"?

      • Freak4Dell

        LMAO...investments are a gamble, you dumbass. If you can't deal with the risk, don't invest.

      • Jesus Martinez

        So because its a rumour found on the internet, its logical to invest and get ahead of yourself before the company even announces anything? That's like if Apple sent out a invitations to an event, I think its the iPad 4, invest thousands in their stocks, and it turns out their announcing their demise. That's my fault for jumping to conclusions. But then again, you're right, it's safe to invest money on a PHONE that was "leaked" to the internet. As we all know, the internet is serious business.

      • squiddy20

        And you (as well as those people "losing thousands of dollars") would be morons for believing, with 100% certainty, any rumor, hoax, sham, or gossip about anything without the slightest bit of proof, especially on the Internet. You might as well be this dumb chick: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bufTna0WArc

  • No Longer Disgusted

    I apologize to the AP team and readers of this site. I took the fact that Artem was so vehemently and agressively denying my accusations as concrete proof of an allegation that was actually based on circumstantial evidence, at best. After witnessing some of the workflow behind their debunk, it is clear to me that Liam, David, et al are a top notch team who put a lot of effort and thought into their work.

    Please understand that I wasn't trying to "troll" this community; I wanted to expose what I truly thought was a grave injustice. I was wrong, but the gut check I got today probably won't feel like a fitting enough punishment for many of you. I'll read every response that you leave here.

    • http://AndroidPolice.com/ Liam Spradlin

      Thanks, NLD. Apology accepted and much appreciated.