After last week’s “they do it too” from Apple regarding the iPhone 4’s signal problems; Nokia and Research In Motion have responded to Apple’s claim. The Antennagate seems to continue forever. Had Apple resisted the urge to hit back, with childish justifications for what is clearly a hardware design flaw and replaced the faulty units; this would have been water under the bridge by now. Instead, now Nokia and Research In Motion (makers of BlackBerry smartphones) are hitting back hard defending themselves for an unjustified attack from Apple.
First was Nokia’s rebuttal, then RIM’s but both have pretty good points to make. Additionally, it’s worth mentioning that none of the smartphones mentioned actually lose enough signal to the point of dropping a call or broadband connection altogether. You can certainly hold all other devices from any side without the drastic loss of signal you would experience in an iPhone 4. Both rebuttals have been strong punches back. While getting to the point, they are both classy moves that show Apple’s errors while trying to give the whole issue a PR spin.
Nokia has officially responded with a long but milder statement: “Antenna design is a complex subject and has been a core competence at Nokia for decades, across hundreds of phone models. Nokia was the pioneer in internal antennas; the Nokia 8810, launched in 1998, was the first commercial phone with this feature. 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.”
RIM’s co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie have issued a statement that was quite stronger: “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.”
Both companies point fingers at Apple’s “form over function” choices, while stating clearly that their products are backed by both R&D tests and market proven products measured in multiple decades. They also make a point of highlighting the audacity of creating a “shiny object effect” that can lead consumers to selecting a product that has not been thoroughly tested so it could be brought to market faster whose sole objective is to round up as many dollars as possible.