Following remarks made by Apple CEO Steve Jobs at his July 16 press conference to address the issue surrounding iPhone 4 antenna problems, rival smartphone makers HTC, Research in Motion and Samsung have come out in defense of their own products. During the press conference, Jobs singled out HTC and RIM when he mentioned that “every smartphone” has an antenna problem when held a certain way. Apple has come under intense criticism not only for the apparent “flaw” in the phone’s design, but the company’s defiant approach to dealing with the issue.
Jobs mentioned RIM’s BlackBerry Bold and Samsung Omnia II as faltering when gripped in a way that blocks the antenna, an alleged problem that mirrors what iPhone 4 owners have been complaining about. The antenna on the iPhone 4 is built into the metal edge of the phone, wrapping around it. “Samsung mobile phones employ an internal antenna design technology that optimizes reception quality for any type of hand-grip use,” a Samsung spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement.
In response to the statements regarding RIM’s BlackBerry Bold 9700, the mobile technology blog Crackberry published a joint statement from RIM co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, who said Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle was “unacceptable” and the statements Jobs made about RIM products appeared to be “deliberate attempts to distort” the consumers understanding of the issues surrounding antenna design and to deflect attention from Apple’s situation.
“RIM is a global leader in antenna design and has been successfully designing industry-leading wireless data products with efficient and effective radio performance for over 20 years. During that time, RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs, which reduce the risk for dropped calls, especially in areas of lower coverage,” the statement read. “One thing is for certain, RIM’s customers don’t need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity. Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions rather than trying to draw RIM and others into a situation that relates specifically to Apple.”
HTC, which is suing Apple over alleged patent infringements, issued an email statement to the gadget blog Pocket-lint, saying the Droid Eris, which is the phone Jobs singled out, has worked extremely well for customers. “Approximately .016 percent of customers [complain]”, wrote Eric Lin, the company’s global PR and online community manager. “We have had very few complaints about signal or antenna problems on the Eris.”
Apple did receive some sympathy from Nokia, however. The handset maker told Phone Scoop it agreed with Jobs that antenna design is complex. “Nokia designs our phones to ensure acceptable performance in all real life cases, for example, when the phone is held in either hand,” the statement read. “In general, antenna performance of a mobile device/phone may be affected with a tight grip, depending on how the device is held.”