Nokia and RIM Respond to Apple Over Antenna

In his presentation yesterday, Steve Jobs made it clear that all smartphones drop bars. According to Apple, the iPhone is unlike every other phone on the market – except when there is a problem – and that’s what Steve Jobs demonstrated by using a BlackBerry, a Samsung, and an HTC phone as points of comparison.

These claims and comparisons made by Steve were just enough to get RIM (Blackberry) and Nokia on this situation.

Here is RIM’s response (my personal favorite):

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.

And here is Nokia’s response:

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.

I understand Steve Jobs used big names because he wanted to get his point across but this kind of responses were bound to happen. Does it really matter in the end? Let’s be honest here, who really cares about what Blackberry or Nokia say anymore?

I don’t know how valid the tests made on BB, Samsung and HTC were but Jobs did the right thing for the company. He successfully demonstrated that just like every other smartphone on the market, the iPhone 4 has weaknesses.

What’s your take on it?