Nokia, RIM assail Apple over antenna claims

RIM and Nokia have attacked Apple over Steve Jobs’ claims that their phones also suffer from antenna problems.
The Apple CEO apologized at a rare press conference at the company’s headquarters last Friday over the signal problems in the new iPhone 4.
However, he infuriated rivals with his claims that other smartphones also suffer from similar signal problems.
“Most smartphones behave exactly the same way,” Jobs told reporters, citing BlackBerry, HTC Droid Eris, Samsung Omnia and Windows mobile phones. “Phones aren’t perfect and it’s a challenge for the whole industry.”
Jobs announced that Apple would give away free phone cases, aimed at eliminating the signal loss caused by users gripping the lower left hand side of the phone.
But RIM co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis described his comments as “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,” they said in an emailed statement
RIM had made sure it “avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4 and instead has used innovative designs which reduce the risk for dropped calls,” they added.
“Apple clearly made certain design decisions and it should take responsibility for these decisions.”
Nokia told mobile phone blog Boy Genius Report that it was “the pioneer in internal antennas” and had “invested thousands of man hours” in studying human behavior, including how people hold their phones for calls.
“[W]e prioritize antenna performance over physical design if they are ever in conflict,” it said.
To ensure connectivity during calls, it puts antennas at the top and bottom of phones.
Jobs’ press conference Friday followed mounting complaints over the signal quality of the iPhone 4.
He said the return rate of AT&T customers for the iPhone 4 was 1.7%, compared with 6% for the 3GS model.
To iPhone 4 owners with problems, he said: “I apologize to them. We will do whatever it takes to make them happy.”