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Nokia, RIM, HTC, Samsung Return Fire on Apple

Apple held a press conference on Friday morning to address the antenna issues some users have been having with the iPhone 4. In an effort to try and explain away the problem, Steve demonstrated that the same problem occurs when griping several other popular phones. Now, it wasn't the first time Steve pointed out that the antenna issue is not exclusive to the iPhone 4. However, it was the first time he showed few handsets to drive his point home.

 Unfortunately, the manufacturers of the phones used in the demo were none to pleased about being "dragged into Apple's self-made debacle," and have issued statements condemning the Cupertino-based company's actions. RIM and Samsung both issued statements on the matter and HTC has spoken publicly about it to the press. Nokia has also released a statement, despite not being included in the demonstration.

Samsung didn't waste any words with its statement. Getting straight to the point, the company clarified that the antenna for the phone Steve used (the Omnia II), is located at the bottom of the handset, but is a good distance away from the user's hand and they've experienced no reception issues so far. The company's full statement (sent to the Korea Herald) is below:

"The antenna is located at the bottom of the Omnia 2 phone, while iPhone's antenna is on the lower left side of the device. Our design keeps the distance between a hand and an antenna. We have fully conducted field tests before the rollout of smartphones. Reception problems have not happened so far, and there is no room for such problems to happen in the future"

HTC was a little more informal, choosing not to release a statement and instead spoke to Pocket-Lint about its product's role in the Apple press conference. The company referred to Steve's 0.55 percent figure, which represents the number of iPhone 4 users experiencing antenna issues, and said they're seeing even less complaints with the HTC Eris. Eric Lin, HTC's global PR and online community manager said approximately .016 percent of Eris users have had antenna problems. Speaking to All Things Digital, HTC had the following to say:

"The reception problems are certainly not common among smartphones. [Apple] apparently didn’t give operators enough time to test the phone."

Even though none of its phones were used in the press conference, Nokia's statement was a little lengthier than that of Samsung or HTC. The company took the time to make sure everyone knew it puts function before form, and even sacrifices design if the two are ever in conflict. The Finnish company also pointed out that it was the first to release a phone with an internal antenna (in 1998), and stated that it has invested thousands of man-hours in researching how people hold phones. Statement below (via Engadget):

"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.

RIM's response is probably the most acerbic of them all. Criticizing "Apple's attempt to draw RIM into Apple's self-made debacle," the Canadian company dubbed Apple's actions unacceptable. Co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie signed a statement that said RIM has avoided designs like the one Apple used for the iPhone 4 and instead opted for ones that result in less dropped calls in areas of lower coverage. Ouchies. Check it out below (via CrackBerry):

"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."