Rivals dispute Apple’s smartphone reception claims

Rival phone makers have hit back against Steve Jobs’ claims that all smartphones suffer reception troubles similar to the iPhone 4.

Rivals dispute Apple's smartphone reception claims

On Friday, the Apple CEO said the iPhone 4’s antennae issues weren’t unique, but a problem faced by many smartphones. “Phones aren’t perfect,” he said. “It’s a challenge for the whole industry. Every phone has weak spots.”

RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4

Jobs showed the results of tests on a BlackBerry Bold 9700, Samsung Omnia II and HTC Droid Eris, saying the three handsets also lost connectivity when held in a certain way.

The manufacturers of those handsets disagree, however. BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion said the iPhone’s problems have nothing to do with other smartphones.

“Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable,” said RIM Co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie in a joint statement. “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 pointed out that it has been “successfully” designing smartphones 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,” the co-CEOs added.

“One thing is for certain, RIM’s customers don’t need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity,” they added, taking a dig at Jobs’ offer of a free case to iPhone 4 buyers.

RIM’s argument was echoed by HTC and Samsung, with the latter telling the Wall Street Journal it had not received any complaints about attenuation with the Omnia II.

And HTC chief financial officer Hui-Meng Cheng said: “The reception problems are certainly not common among smartphones… [Apple] apparently didn’t give operators enough time to test the phone.”

Nokia – which wasn’t even mentioned by Jobs – also spoke out. “We prioritise antenna performance over physical design if they are ever in conflict,” the company told the Telegraph.

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