Drawing BlackBerry into iPhone 4 Reception Problem is “Unacceptable”, Says RIM

Apple’s event yesterday dived into some of the nuances regarding the dreaded iPhone 4 Death Grip, and part of that statement involved spreading some blame to other manufacturers, like RIM, HTC, Samsung, and Nokia, for having the exact same problems. Apple claims that signal attenuation and dropping calls due to tightly holding a phone is an inevitability of wireless technology. Nokia has already fired back (and then some), and now Research In Motion’s co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis have issued a statement.

“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.”

I’ve reviewed the BlackBerry Bold 9700, and I gotta say, dropping calls because I was holding the phone naturally was never a problem. However, Apple holds fast that Death Grip only affects those in low-coverage areas, which is a significant caveat to testing. Also, it’s hard to argue with the video proof; here are a few YouTubers recreating Death Grip on the BlackBerry Bold 9700.

Regardless of the truth to Apple’s statement that attenuation is global problem, the fact that they’re naming companies in direct comparison strikes me as borderline slanderous, and akin to a kid lashing out at the things around him when things don’t go his way. Even if attenuation exists elsewhere, having a single, distinct spot that will force dropped calls (rather than a general coverage of the antenna system) just tells me that Apple has done a poor job in working around the issue, and that the others moved from external to internal antennae years ago for a reason. Free cases are nice and all, but that really defeats the purpose of owning the slimmest smartphone in the world, doesn’t it?

Check out Apple’s new antennae sub-site to see their defense, or scope out our iPhone 4 unboxing video and impressions to see what’s still good about it.

  • Winston

    My previous Nokia 5800 phone actually had a worse death grip than iPhone 4!

  • Jonathan

    Slanderous? Educating is called slanderous? Ahahaha!

    Seems to me that knowing not to touch ONE spot over touching the general phone all together would be the best matter in the choice. Not to mention a case fixes the issue. I don't recall Blackberry having a fix for the issue? Instead they just decided not to even mention it to their customers and sell them a faulty product in the mean time. Ignorance is bliss as they say.

    Education is not slander. Just because the general German populus didn't know Hitler was killing Jews, didn't mean it was slanderous when they found out he was.

    • Good Reception

      Can't Apple and its fan boys just admit this is an Iphone only problem? If the Bold 9700 had such an intense antennae problem Blackberry owners would have turned into an angry mob just as many Iphone Customers have. I have to exclude the fanboys from that mob because no matter how Apple disregards the needs of it's customers, the fan boys will always say the Iphone is perfect and has NO Problems.

  • Jim

    This isn't news. Its radio waves. I guess we have to learn all over again what it was like to touch the set-top TV antenna.

  • Alvin

    Slanderous you say? I would suggest that you get a dictionary and look up the meaning of slanderous. Apple simply stated an unknown fact. ALL SMART PHONES have this problem. Apple has even provided proof of this, and i just love the fact that the manufactures named in the press conference are more upset with the fact that Apple let the whole world know about there superior products than actually proving Apple to be wrong. Do you think that Crackberry of HTC would let Apple slander them an not haul Apples's ass off to court for a lawsuit? Obviously you beleive that. How about reporting on the facts as reported by Apple. These other cell phones have this problem and RIM stated they have 20 years in antenna design, and yet they have not solved this problem. I keep reading how RIM outsells Apple, but yet what are they doing to compensate ayone who has bought their product? NOTHING!! Why don't you write an article about that instead.

  • Simon Sage

    Guys, I threw "borderline" in there for a reason. Yes, Apple did tests to back up their statements, it's not completely fabricated, it's not the textbook definition of slander; what's slanderous about it is that Apple's trying to drag the competition's reputation down with them over the Death Grip issue, which I think extends beyond your everyday attenuation issues and into Apple's specific antenna design. For all of the time Apple spent showing off other manufacturers' phones being just as bad as theirs, Apple could have spent time actually explaining what signal attenuation is, and what happens with the iPhone 4 when that little line in the bottom-left is touched. The only reason to bring other companies into the conversation is if they were looking for a red herring.

  • Ryan

    I don't understand – it can't really be borderline slanderous if it's, you know, true.

  • njaymaldito

    iPhone 4 – BOooo!

  • Bill

    I live in chicago and have the bold 9700 (actually my second)  both phones lose the signal. i.e. 5 bars to 1 and then lose the call.  It happens all the time. ( I am on Verizon)

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