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Nokia and RIM Respond To Apple's Antenna Claims 514

Posted by timothy
from the pot-v-kettle-round-xixiivii dept.
awyeah writes "In response to Apple's press conference, where videos of a few devices were shown losing signal bars with a tight grip, RIM and Nokia have both taken shots at Apple. RIM's co-CEOs say that Apple's claims '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.' Meanwhile, Nokia, noting that they are pioneers in antenna design and were the first company to bring to market a phone with an internal antenna, prioritizes 'antenna performance over physical design if they are ever in conflict.'"
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Nokia and RIM Respond To Apple's Antenna Claims

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 17, 2010 @04:23PM (#32938664)

    As far as I've read, the 3G problems will unlikely manifest in countries/places with good 3G coverage. For example, it's been said that US 3G coverage is lagging 5-6 years behind the 3G coverage of northern Europe.

    I don't know about you guys in the US, but I probably don't even drop one phonecall per year here in Scandinavia. Apple is gonna have a major headache on their hand with the consumer authorities if their phones are shown to drop any amount of phonecalls.

  • It's pretty simple. (Score:5, Informative)

    by v(*_*)vvvv (233078) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @04:25PM (#32938674)

    Consumer report couldn't have illustrated it simpler. You put your finger *here* and the signal strength drops by 15 to 20% or whatever the number was.

    There really isn't much mystery. If the signal is strong, then 20% isn't going to change anything. But people generally move around in the same areas, so if your activites are concentrated in a dodgy signal area, that means your calls could go from a 25% drop rate to completely unusable.

  • by frosty_tsm (933163) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @04:29PM (#32938694)

    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.

    RIM's market are business people and others who really use their phone for calling, email, and other communications. They bought it to do a function.

    People bought the iPhone because it was Apple and they wanted to have a stylish phone. They wanted to look marvelous.

    If it wasn't the case, then why did the iPhone sell like hot cakes in markets where AT&T was known to have shitty service? Consumer Reports have been tracking that for years.

    Having used both, I'll have to say that I like having an easy to use phone. The Blackberry that I use for work is crap in this department. An iPhone is more functional for non-work use (video, games, pictures).

    I'm not saying that there are people who bought it to be stylish, but you're over-simplifying things.

  • Re:Steve and his FUD (Score:4, Informative)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @04:36PM (#32938756) Journal

    Apple says the iPhone 4 drops one more call per 100 calls.

    How to Lie With Statistics 101:

    Fact 1: iPhone4 only drops an additional 1 per 100 calls compared to the competitors.
    Fact 2: Millions of calls are made per day using the iPhone v4.

    The Lie: Omitting any mention of what a +1% increase in dropped calls really means when applied to millions of calls.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @04:40PM (#32938786)

    Well if they are true, I can't replicate it. My Blackberry for sure has signal variations based on its position. I'm quite sure my body interferes with it too, no way it can't. However it doesn't drop calls when I hold it. I grip with the "whole hand wraparound" method all the time, just how I hold the thing. It always seems to work.

    As for a suit, RIM might but then again that's a pain in the ass. Lots of money involved and nothing might get decided in the end. I mean if Apple can show a case where they are right, even if it is a longshot case, that can be enough. They say "Well when we did this, we lost signal," and that could be enough. They weren't lying.

    Also with libel cases you have to prove three things:

    1) That the words written were false. As I said, maybe Apple can show that indeed it does happen in a 1 in a million case. Could be enough. The truth is a total defense against libel.

    2) That the person writing the words knew they were false, or at least reasonably should have known. If you write something honestly believing it to be true, that's not libel. You have to be aware that it is false.

    3) That the words were written with the intent to cause harm. You can write knowingly false statements for other reasons, like parody, and that's not libel. It is only libel if the reason you did it was to attempt to harm the party you were writing about.

    In this case, proving all three of those might be real hard. As such, easier to just issue a press release saying "They are full of shit."

  • by RedK (112790) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @04:41PM (#32938792)
    Is math is dead on, Steve said that the 1% was a delta, he said "1 out of 100 more". You just completely misunderstood, which I think is part of why Steve presented it the way he did. To make it sound like 1%, when it actuality it's 1% more than some unknown number which is now said to be 1.4%.
  • Nokia video (Score:3, Informative)

    by Reverberant (303566) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @04:42PM (#32938798) Homepage

    A Nokia E71 user posted this [youtube.com] a month ago. And this is with a microcell nearby.

    Get your own house in order before complaining about Apple airing your dirty laundry.

    (FTR, I'm an E71 owner)

  • Re:Video Proof (Score:5, Informative)

    by RedK (112790) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @04:47PM (#32938826)

    Hand in your geek card. You have no grasp of the issue and it shows. Anand performed tests and the iPhone 4 loses 20 db of signal when lightly touched in the proper spot (lower left gap between antennas). 20 dbs might not result in a visible result on the bar display seeing how 5 bars is larger than that.

    What has Slashdot become that we now have to deal with ignorant mass-consumers instead of just geeks with actual curiosity for researching and understanding ?

  • Re:Steve and his FUD (Score:2, Informative)

    by Wingsy (761354) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @04:47PM (#32938828)
    Because I do not think Jobs lied about it when he said so in the press conference. Did you listen to it or watch it?
  • by Uranium-238 (1586465) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @04:48PM (#32938838)
    Becuase they're fucking retarded and can't handle a touchpad?
  • Re:Steve and his FUD (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 17, 2010 @04:49PM (#32938842)
    Yeah, but 97.6% uptime, that's still one nine! Pretty good for Apple! Way better than I ever got on my goddamned iPhone... (still zero dropped calls on Verizon/Incredible after two months!) Not so good for telecom, though. I suspect Apple/AT&T is a major driver of the growth of texting over phone calls.

    Another funny numbers game Steve played. He claimed only .55% of iPhone 4 users have called in to complain so far. But ya know... after years and years of Apple denying any problems with the iPhone, MacBook Pro (constant kernel panics that mysteriously went away with a patch about a year later, but there was never any problem, noooo; the high-pitched whining sound, the ball-basting heat, etc.)... and censoring any mention of these problems from these forums; after seeing thousands of people complaining about the issue on the Internet-- maybe people figured it wasn't worth their time to call in. Obviously Apple knew about the problem, and obviously they'd eventually have to give out free bumpers, because this was too big to ignore. So why waste your time waiting to talk to a tech support rep who is paid to lie to you about the problem? Let them try stonewalling for a month or so, let them trash their own reputation by treating their customers like crap-- plenty of others will call. It's not like you'll be telling them something they don't know.
  • by Moridineas (213502) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @04:53PM (#32938862) Journal

    They don't need to give more of a response because while Apple has created a few phones Nokia and RIM have created hundreds of different models

    Just fwiw, you've just made as your argument one of the most classical and basic fallacies -- an appeal to authority.

  • Re:PR versus PR (Score:5, Informative)

    by RedK (112790) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @05:01PM (#32938928)

    Who cares how many sell in the weekend ? That's not a measure of anything besides marketing Hype. RIM outsells Apple quarter after quarter. That's all that matters. They have more Market share, I doubt they are jealous of Apple iAnything.

  • by tftp (111690) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @05:07PM (#32938962) Homepage

    The antennas disappeared into the phone to gain style points, not to improve overall reception. Perhaps an RF engineer could comment?

    Primarily you need a manufacturing engineer to comment on this. External antennas are large, expensive to make, and they tend to break, and you must depend on the customer to extend them (if they are extendable.) But from the RF point of view, a well designed and well matched internal antenna is not any worse than an external one. The technology of antennas has also improved, CST came up with specialized simulators and models, new LNAs are now available to increase sensitivity, and so on.

  • What a whiner (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 17, 2010 @05:12PM (#32939004)

    What a whiner and complainer. He's using the press conference to put down his competitors, misrepresent his own company, and lying about the antenna problem.

    Lying? He's claiming that all the phones behave the same way, but doesn't show any data. CR compared these phones under controlled conditions.

  • by yyxx (1812612) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @05:21PM (#32939064)

    Yes, you can produce signal drop by holding phones in a certain way. Usually, that's not because you cover the antenna, it's because you get standing waves. That's particularly bad if you have a microcell sitting in your home. No phone can receive anything where there isn't a signal, and there are just places where there isn't a signal. At cell phone signal frequencies, moving 10-30 cm can get you from full signal strength to nothing. That has nothing to do with antenna issues. The iPhone antenna problem is a problem that exists on top of these normal effects and causes additional signal loss.

    That's why all cell phone can experience signal loss depending on how you hold them, and why Apple can make those videos. But that's not a reasonable test. The CR test is what you need to do: you need to firmly fix the phone in space, and then just touch the case in different places. The iPhone signal strength drops, the signal strength on other phones remains essentially unaffected.

  • Re:PR versus PR (Score:5, Informative)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday July 17, 2010 @05:31PM (#32939118) Homepage Journal

    It must be particularly galling to RIM that a lot of people prefer even an iPhone

    But can you imagine how it makes Apple feel that so many people still prefer a Blackberry after all the money that Apple has spent marketing its phone? By thinking that one company is more "galled" by people buying it's competitor's product than it's own is anthropomorphizing a corporation in a way that seems peculiar to a certain segment of consumers.

    Seriously, I understand fandom (though not of corporations) but I don't understand the attribution of human emotions to legal fictions created in order to make profit while avoiding liability.

    Anyway, here in North America, Blackberry's market share is still more than double that of the iPhone, so I doubt RIM is particularly "galled".

  • Re:Steve and his FUD (Score:4, Informative)

    by Wingsy (761354) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @05:38PM (#32939176)
    I believe the part that is confidential is the dropped call rate per a specific phone model, not the overall rate.
  • by Drew M. (5831) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @05:41PM (#32939196) Homepage

    As a person who was completely obsessed with maintaining cell reception, I did a ton of testing of cell phones on Verizon. I can say that the Nokias were always the best at holding calls in fringe areas, even the models with internal antennas like the 6236i. All the Nokias I owned would actually gain very little signal strength (1-2db) by extending their antenna. I read that part of their design was to be able to use the external antenna internally or externally. 2nd best was usually Motorola. There were definitely times where other Verizon users had to borrow my phone to maintain a call. When Nokias were dropped by Verizon I would go pick up used ones as backups. All in all, I owned 1 3589i, 3 6015i, and a 6236i, every single candybar style Nokia that Verizon carried near the end.

    Testing done by others on Sprint would place the Nokias as the best followed by Sanyo. This was confirmed by many users on howardforums and by an internal Sprint engineer that had access to call drop data.

  • by Dragoniz3r (992309) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @06:02PM (#32939308)
    I wish I could find a source on this, but I believe your understanding is flawed. Infact, if memory serves me, I've seen that Nokia was the company that went to great engineering lengths to make internal antennas that were as good as external ones, and also to convince everyone of it.

    My memory may be flawed, so don't crucify me if I'm wrong, but I believe that is what I have seen in the past.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 17, 2010 @06:10PM (#32939350)

    Historically, Blackberries have had no auto-lock timer, but required being put into the case or hitting a key combination in order to lock the device.

    Maximum Security Timeout [blackberry.com]

    (the above link is to the BES article, but the setting exists in standalone configuration too)

    Or, there is the re-bindable convenience key [cnet.com]

    So you've been annoyed enough to rant on /. but not enough to spend 10 seconds on google?
    Or are you just another iPhone fanboi?

  • Re:Steve and his FUD (Score:3, Informative)

    by tolan-b (230077) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @07:01PM (#32939670)

    This reminds me of the statistics the UK government used to sell the smoking ban. They said that passive smoking caused a 20% increase in the risk of lung cancer. Which is true. What they didn't mention was that for a non-smoker the risk is about 1 in 1000. So a passive smoker (living with a 40 a day smoker for 20 years) has their risk of lung cancer increase from around 1 in 1000 to around 1.2 in 1000. Obviously this plays off the understanding that a regular smoker has an enormously higher risk (I forget the exact amount but it's higher that 1 in 10 I believe).

  • Re:PR versus PR (Score:2, Informative)

    by wtmoose (639328) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @07:03PM (#32939690)

    I doubt they are jealous of Apple iAnything.

    Then I doubt you've seen Apple's profit share of the cellular industry. Last I heard it was 32% for Apple vs 22% for RIM. http://www.ismashphone.com/images/Apple_and_The_Cell_Phone_Industry_Infographic.png [ismashphone.com]

  • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Saturday July 17, 2010 @08:23PM (#32940106) Homepage Journal

    "but you do have to use a case if you want to conveniently prevent somebody from making a call from their pocket with one."

    What bullshit is this? My three year old 8100 Pearl has auto-lock.

    Too lazy to RTFM?

  • Blackberry vs iPhone (Score:3, Informative)

    by falconwolf (725481) <falconsoaring_2000@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday July 17, 2010 @09:54PM (#32940452)

    Anyway, here in North America, Blackberry's market share is still more than double that of the iPhone, so I doubt RIM is particularly "galled".

    From Forbes [forbes.com]: "iPhone Could Overtake BlackBerry Market Share in 2011". iPhone, BlackBerry slip as Android market share surges [fiercemobilecontent.com] tells a different story. Personally I don't care who leads in marketshare as long as there is competition in a relatively free market.

    Falcon

  • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Saturday July 17, 2010 @10:09PM (#32940514)

    From http://www.antennasys.com/antennasys-blog/2010/6/24/apple-iphone-4-antennas.html [antennasys.com]

    The FCC puts strict limits on the amount of energy from a handheld device that may be absorbed by the body. We call this Specific Absorbtion Rate, or SAR. In the olden days, when I walked ten miles to school in three feet of snow, uphill in both directions, cell phones had pull-up antennas. This allowed the designer to use a half-wave antenna variant, and put the point of maximum radiation somewhat away from the user's cranium. Of course, most people did not think it was necessary and kept the antenna stowed. Motorola's flip phone acutally had a second helical antenna that was switched into place when this was the case. But, more importantly, SAR rules were not yet in effect.

    Flip phones became yesterday's style, and phones were becoming more monolithic. Some phones, like the early Treo, kept the antenna in the traditional location at the top of the phone, near one edge, but reduced it to a short stub. Whips became stubs, stubs became bumps, and finally antennas were embedded into the rectangular volume of the phone. The trouble was SAR; if you left the antenna at the top, the user was now pressing it into their head, insuring lots of tissue heating. Enter the bottom-located cellphone antenna.

    Just about every cell phone in current production has the antenna located at the bottom. This insures that the radiating portion of the antenna is furthest from the head. Apple was not the first to locate the antenna on the bottom, and certainly won't be the last. The problem is that humans have their hands below their ears, so the most natural position for the hand is covering the antenna. This can't be a good design decision, can it? How can we be stuck with this conundrum? It's the FCC's fault.
    You see, when the FCC tests are run, the head is required to be in the vicinity of the phone. But, the hand is not!! And the FCC's tests are not the only tests that must be passed by a candidate product. AT&T has their own requirements for devices put on their network, and antenna efficiency is one of them. I know because I have designed quad-band GSM antennas for the AT&T network. The AT&T test similarly does not require the hand to be on the phone.

    So, naturally, the design evolved to meet requirements - and efficient transmission and reception while being held by a human hand are simply not design requirements!

    Want phones to continue to get smaller and lighter? This goofy bullshit is what ultimately determines the limit. Don't want phones to continue to get smaller and lighter? Then why are you even reading this thread?

  • Fallacious fallacies (Score:3, Informative)

    by copponex (13876) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @01:53AM (#32941164) Homepage

    Just fwiw, you've just made as your argument one of the most classical and basic fallacies -- an appeal to authority.

    Since not all arguments from expert opinion are fallacious, some authorities on logic have taken to labelling this fallacy as "appeal to inappropriate or irrelevant or questionable authority", rather than the traditional name "appeal to authority". For the same reason, I use the name "appeal to misleading authority" to distinguish fallacious from non-fallacious arguments from authority.

    http://www.fallacyfiles.org/authorit.html [fallacyfiles.org]

    Just because you appeal to an authority doesn't make it a fallacy.

  • Re:What a whiner (Score:3, Informative)

    by Phroggy (441) <slashdot3@@@phroggy...com> on Sunday July 18, 2010 @02:52AM (#32941292) Homepage

    Lying? He's claiming that all the phones behave the same way, but doesn't show any data.

    He showed videos of precisely the same kind of signal loss that people have been complaining about, happening with three other phones, caused just by holding them in a particular way. He provided the best statistics AT&T would allow him to provide publicly, and acknowledged that the data does show the iPhone 4 drops calls more often than the iPhone 3GS. He also provided data about their return rate so far, and how many people have called Apple's tech support about this issue. What data are you looking for?

    He's using the press conference to put down his competitors,

    He went out of his way to say the competing phones demonstrated are great phones. He had absolutely nothing negative to say about any of them, other than that (as shown in the videos) holding a competing phone in a particular way, in certain areas, can cause a drop in signal strength.

  • by yyxx (1812612) on Sunday July 18, 2010 @03:46AM (#32941402)

    The end effect is the same: with either phone I have to hold it a certain way in low signal areas to prevent the call from dropping.

    No, the end effect is not the same: the iPhone 4 has a 1% higher dropped call rate than a similar phone (3GS) with an internal antenna and worse radio (1% is a pretty big increase, and most of the usual dropped calls are from moving vehicles).

    That's because in addition to the usual ways of losing signal, the iPhone 4 has a new one. CR shows you what it is.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday July 18, 2010 @10:19AM (#32942526) Homepage Journal

    Just because you appeal to an authority doesn't make it a fallacy.

    The argument that someone has done something more necessarily means they are better at it is a logical fallacy, and the fallacy is appeal to authority. They are an authority because they do it a lot, right? By that logic McDonalds should build a better burger. Saying that RIM and Nokia are better at making phones because they've done it more times is false. You can hire experience.

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