Manufacturers lambast Apple

Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ assertion that the iPhone 4 is not alone in experiencing signal degradation when held in a user’s hands has been met with outrage and ridicule in equal measure from rival handset manufacturers.

Speaking to a select group of journalists on Friday, Jobs claimed that the iPhone 4 was experiencing a lower rate of both returns and complaints that the iPhone 3GS. A video also demonstrated how signal problems can also be replicated on devices such as the Blackberry 9700, HTC Droid and Samsung Omnia.

Here’s a roundup of the responses:

Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying human behavior, including how people hold their phones for calls, music playing, web browsing and so on. As you would expect from a company focused on connecting people, we prioritize antenna performance over physical design if they are ever in conflict. In general, antenna performance of a mobile device/phone may be affected with a tight grip, depending on how the device is held. That’s why Nokia designs our phones to ensure acceptable performance in all real life cases, for example when the phone is held in either hand. Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying how people hold their phones and allows for this in designs, for example by having antennas both at the top and bottom of the phone and by careful selection of materials and their use in the mechanical design.”

The antenna is located at the bottom of the Omnia 2 phone, while iPhone’s antenna is on the lower left side of the device. Our design keeps the distance between a hand and an antenna. We have fully conducted field tests before the rollout of smartphones. Reception problems have not happened so far, and there is no room for such problems to happen in the future.”

Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable. Apple’s claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public’s understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple’s difficult 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. 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.”

Approximately 0.016 per cent of customers [have complained to us]. Ee have had very few complaints about signal or antenna problems on the Eris.”

Aside from antennagate, Apple again found itself in hot (or at the very least luke-warm) water over the weekend when a number of complaints arose from customers experiencing problems upgrading their handsets to the new 4.0.1 firmware.

Many users (including your truly) found that their handsets would get so far into the update process before grinding to a halt, the end result being that they were unable to exit the reboot cycle. Or in other words, the phones were bricked.

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