BlackBerry Bold 9700
"That's all I can stands, and I can't stands no more!"

Yesterday during Apple's press conference concerning antenna/reception issues with the iPhone 4, Steve Jobs tried deflect attention away from the device and assert that it was an industrywide problem. Jobs went on to show videos of various phones from competing manufacturers succumbing to attenuation problems when held in a certain way (you can catch the entire presentation here).

By doing this, Jobs made it seem to the untrained eye that this isn't an Apple-specific problem, but just a fact of life for users of smartphones given today's technology.

Not surprisingly, two of the companies that were the subject of Jobs' "See, we aren't the only ones having problems" demonstration are fighting back hard. The first to respond was none other than Nokia:

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 co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie also fired back after their crown jewel, the BlackBerry Bold 9700, was shown to be susceptible to dropped bars:

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.

It appears that Apple has opened up a whole new can of worms with its press conference, so we wouldn't be surprised if other phone manufacturers start piling on shortly.

"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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