HTC Unofficially Responds to iPhone 4 ‘Antennagate’ Drama

When Apple gave its press conference on Friday to address the iPhone 4 antenna issue, it gave a little demo showing other phones allegedly facing similar signal attenuation problems. Included were the BlackBerry Bold 9700, which RIM wasn’t terribly pleased about, the Samsung Omnia II and the HTC Droid Eris. The idea behind the demo is that, to some degree, all mobile phones can have reception issues if the antenna is blocked by your hand. Unsurprisingly, each phone used in the demo performed just as Apple had hoped.

HTC hasn’t given an official statement on the demo, unlike RIM, but Eric Lin, head of Global PR for HTC online PR manager, did comment on the matter. When asked just how many customers have complained about the antenna issue, Lin said, “Approximately .016% of customers,” and noted that “”we have had very few complaints about signal or antenna problems on the Eris.”

I’m pretty sure that the manufacturers that were involved weren’t terribly happy with Apple’s demo, but I’m happy to see that HTC wasn’t as kneejerk and harsh as RIM. Companies like Nokia have openly taken shots at Apple while expressing its disdain against the Cupertino-based company, all the while ignoring its own criticisms regarding antenna/reception issues even before the iPhone 4 was released.

This drama is sure to go on for a while since Apple hasn’t offered a reasonable fix for the issue, even though it only affects less than two percent of users. That’s still 60,000 unhappy iPhone users when you consider the 3 million iPhone 4 units that Apple has sold over the last three weeks. For now, the company is only offering free cases and bumpers for iPhone 4 customers, or refunds for those who already purchased a case or bumper.

What do you think? Was it wise for Apple to use other manufacturers to show that this antenna issue isn’t unique to the iPhone 4 by demoing phones like the HTC Droid Eris? Are you happy with the proposed–and hopefully temporary–solution to the problem? Or will you be considering returning your iPhone for the full, no-questions-asked refund that Jobs mentioned in Friday’s press conference?

To see the site that Apple launched to address the iPhone 4 antenna issues, and to see the demo videos of other phones showing the same problems, click here.

[Update]
Correction to Mr. Lin’s title.

[Via: PocketLint]

  • Chris

    These stories are ridiculous, All phones experience these problems to some degree. As far as HTC goes with there .016% that’s probably just do the the substantially smaller market share(less people to complain ) My iPhone 4 works flawlessly.

    • Max

      That's 0.16% of Droid Eris customers, market share has nothing to do with that.

      The iPhone knights are coming in waves it seems.

    • Tf998

      Yeah, it must happen in EVERY phone. I've owned 6 HTC devices over the years and I couldn't make the signal drop a single bar no matter how I held it. I mean I suppose I could if I was wearing lead gloves but that would simply be absurd. Get you head out of the sand.

    • Slim

      hahaha somebody explain to Chris how percentages work

    • O.M.G.

      Holy **it Chris. You really should think before clicking that "Submit" button. I bet you don't even realize how ridiculous your HTC argument is. HTC's .016% can be compared directly to Apple's 2% – that's the cool thing about percentages.

      I don't want to sound too harsh, but you fanboys sure make the dumbest comments always. Could it be so that these Apple products are so easy to use that you don't have to think – and after using them a while you don't even know how to think anymore?

    • anonymous

      Go back to math class, yes?

      • anonymous 2

        He needs to go back to math and grammar class.

    • iFonePhag

      “As far as HTC goes with there .016% that’s probably just do the the substantially smaller market share(less people to complain )” Are you seriously that dumb that you don’t understand how “Comsumer Complaint Percentages” work? It doesn’t matter if 3 million of the iPhones were sold and 500,000 Eris’ were sold. If 60,000 iPhone 4 owners complained and 8000 Eris owners complained. That’s 2% and 0.016% of the comsumer complaints were about bad reception. It doesn’t matter how many phones are sold overall, market share has nothing to do with how many complaints vs how many phones were sold. Damn you’re stupid, btw better pull your pants up your fanboyism is hanging out.

  • Jordan

    Honestly, I prefer RIM's approach. Sure, every cell phone experiences this issue to some degree, but to compare the iPhone 4 to other phones on the market is absurd. If Apple really wanted to go for the sleeker design, and have the stainless steel frame act as the antenna, then they had better make sure it works as "flawlessly" as they seem to believe their products operate. When you make a bold move like that, you're opening the door criticism if it fails to deliver, which it has. The explanation Apple has released is not what I would have wanted, but I wouldn't expect anything more from Mr. Jobs. It's just sad that he thinks consumers should buy his excuse.

  • boa

    I used to think, the "this happens to all phones" quote by Jobs was just bullshit, but I was wrong, and actually, very surprised. I tried different hand configurations with a Samsung phone of mine, and man, the bars actually dropped, I was just stunned, it was really something out of this world. When this happens to an iPhone, the most popular phone on the planet, it just get's even more amplified.

  • AdamZ

    It’s amazing the arrogance and obnoxious explanation that Apple gave at that press conference led by Steve Jobs. “We’re not perfect. Our phone was manufactured with a design flaw… but other phones have done it too!” Really? That was your apology to your customers? I’m not sure the customers that are experiencing issues with reception are comforted by the fact that their phone isn’t the only one.

    One important thing to note as well is the fact that it was an extremely unwise decision as a business standpoint to bring up and discuss phones from your competition – and when it is done at a press conference centered on your device’s design flaw. Are you trying to remind your already disgruntled customers about their other options as you offer a full refund? Especially since none of the competing devices’ actual phone calling abilities are rendered useless with one finger. (Granted – it’s not noticeable in all areas. All phones are affected, though – watch your actual dB level.)

    I’m not sure I understand what Steve Jobs was thinking. The choice of a cheap case/bumper was a good idea – even if the only reason he did so was to hopefully regain that “Recommended” rating from Consumer Reports… which he didn’t get, deservedly. If the man would have gotten up and apologized to his upset customers, whole heartedly, it would have gone much further. Explain that he knows that more was expected from them… explain that a bumper is not the solution that he would prefer to deliver, but at this time it’s the only solution. Most importantly – give your word that if they, your paying customers, continue to put their faith on Apple… they will not be disappointed again.

    Try respecting the people that love your products instead of treating them like ungrateful children. They don’t owe you, Mr. Jobs, anything. You owe them – act like it. (And buy another set of clothes for once…)

    AdamZ

    • Darktanone

      Debate all you want. Based on the latest user satisfaction survey, iPhone 4 owners are the most satisfied of all smartphone users by a wide margin and more people plan to by the iPhone 4 than any other phone. Most of you here don’t own the iPhone 4 and probably never will, so your comments don’t accurately reflect how most iPhone users feel. Just think about it for a moment. Even with the so-called flaw and the overblown coverage, it still beats every other phone on the planet in user satisfaction. One phone rules them all! Buhahahahaha.  That’s a damn shame! Say all you want, I’m loving mine! Haaaaa-hahahaha-haaaa.    

  • Alan

    It was perfectly fine for Jobs to point out that many or all mobile phones can suffer the same fate. After all, these companies spent the last 22 days attacking Apple with their ads as well. If they hadn't, the demos might never have come forth. Karma sucks. ;-)

  • 1stkorean

    I had issues with mine and have already returned it, and cancelled the AT&T service. I have ordered a Droid X and am anxiously waiting for it to arrive. After playing with the Droid X for a little while, I am so glad that iphone 4 was defective.

    I did not want the iphone 4 to put some ugly ass piece of rubber on it. That rubber bumper is ugly and does NOT fix the defect in the iphone 4 all it does is make the thing usable and covers up the problem, and there has been enough cover up on this issue.

    NO more rotten fruit for me. Jobs has been an arrogant asshole throughout this debacle and I am sure has soured a lot of people like me away from apple inc.

  • Niels

    @Chris The 0.016% is a percentage of the Droid Eric customers, so it has nothing to do with the market share.

  • cubeover

    Approximately 0.00016% or FM radio users are contacting radio stations with the issues which stem from touching the receiving antennas. Queen sends notes to pot-smoking FBI members.

  • Kevin

    But if the number of products sold goes up it is possible that the percentage would go up, not just the number. It is a little hard to compare apple’s 2% to eris’ .016% without getting into an apples and oranges scenario.

    And I’d take a fanboy over someone with terrible grammar any day, but no one can read or write English anymore.

  • Cablefed

    Reading all the comments, I may be missing the point here, but to me it doesn’t matter how many other phones have the same problem. It’s the iPhone that managed to get on the first pages of the news, right? It wasn’t RIM, HTC, Samsung or other manufacturers. Why did this happen? Apple admitted that they knew about the antenna long before the phone reel date. They should’ve thought about the backup plan as well, before marketing the phone, but for some reason they decided to go forward. And now it seems that what they’re trying to do is to cover their butts by comparing (selectively I might add) the competitors’ phones. Although the iphone may be a great product, their QA procedures need an adjustment.

  • tammy

    Finger pointing seems to be the wave of the future …

  • Kev

    0.016% is for all HTC phones, 2% is for one iphone model, I don’t know how many model HTC makes, maybe the complain rate is 3% for one model and 0 for other, who knows, nobody cares about it.

  • KennMSr

    I think very few posters appreciated what Steve & Co attempted to do at Friday's press conference.
    1. Apple's not perfect – although they tray to make the most productive and user friendly devices in the marketplace.
    2. Apple was singled out by the anti Apple crowd (blogosphere) and that feeding frenzy spread to the mainstream media. Steve tried to show that the problem was present with all current generation smart phones by showing three prime examples on different carriers. Thus showing it was a device issue and not a carrier issue but was exacerbated in weak signal areas.
    3. Apple does test their devices – very thoroughly in a very state of the art (Very expensive & elaborate) testing facility, so those who thought Jonny Ive just put a design on paper and sent it to China for production can now eat crow. I would like to see the facilities of some of these other manufacturers to see how they compare. Apple is typically know for over engineering it's products (therefore higher purchase prices) assumption would follow that over testing would follow.
    4. Apple provided a solution – A FREE case (Bumper) or if that doesn't make you 100% satisfied just bring it back for a full refund and contract cancellation. [To the poster above I think it is a very stylish and well conceived protection device without obscuring the original design aesthetics of the base phone – I always used my Gen 1 iPhone Naked but carried in a DLO hipcase]
    What else do you want Steve to do relinquish to you his $1.00 a year Salary. If other CEO's and corporate execs has the passion and concern about the products they sold and not their 6 Plus figure salaries we'd still have Buick, Oldsmobile, Saturn, & Mercury.

  • rushbc

    i'd pick my iPhone 4 over any phone on the market today. others would disagree.
    however, Apple is doing everything it can to make this right. still, people love to kick other people when they are down. and people love to see successful people/companies fail. but saying that Apple should not point out the EXACT SAME ANTENNA ISSUE in other manufacturer's smartphones is just silly. why shouldn't they?

    Apple is simply illustrating the point that this problem is NOT unique to iphone 4. the interwebs and youtube are littered with TONS of videos of smartphones doing the exact same thing, with the exact same antanna problems, as the iphone 4. it happens to smartphones made by RIM, HTC, Motorola, on a variety of carriers, including AT&T AND Verizon.

    Google has the same problem with the Nexus One. the Nexus One is a very cool device, a very good smartphone.
    but it has the exact same antenna issue, with people complaining and posting videos PROVING that the Nexus One drops signal when held "wrong". this was only six months ago.

    but what happened? Nothing happened.

    there was no media feeding frenzy. no huge backlash driven by techie websites and tech blogs. no consumer reports articles proclaiming that the Nexus One is "not recommended". no mainstream media feeding the flames like CNN and New York TImes did. no open letters to Google from New York Senators. (Charles Shumer)
    again, Nothing Happened. Why? because nobody cared.
    and nothing happened because Google didnt sell very many Nexus Ones (especially compared to iPhone).
    but the main reason nothing happened? because it was Google, NOT Apple.

    people, it seems, love to hate Apple. especially media people and bloggers.

    Steve Jobs was correct when he said that all smartphones suffer from this issue. it really is a challenge for the entire industry.

    But Jobs was even more spot-on when he said that the media has totally blown this crap out of proportion.
    (the proof that this is an example of media blowing sh*t out of proportion is that there was no antenna-gate blowup BS when the Nexus One did the same thing that iPhone 4 does, regarding signal drop/antenna issues).

    Disclaimer: I am an AT&T customer and an iPhone owner. I am also an AT&T employee. I do NOT receive any form of compensation for my posts. My posts reflect my own personal opinions and do not necessarily represent AT&T’s positions, strategies or opinions. I also do not possess any "insider knowledge" of future products or future releases. And if I did, I certainly wouldn't tell you! :)

    • Jordan

      Keep in mind that while, yes, all other phones have this issue, Apple put themselves on the line by making the frame the antenna. No other company has done that. Also, isn't Apple's slogan "It just works"?
      In showing that all other phones have the same issue to some extent, they're putting the iPhone on par with every other phone on the market, which brings down the iPhone's good name.

  • Vijayant jain

    Tell me that is it a rumor that iphone do not have any signal problems it is only the signal bars on the phone that are giving incorrect reading.
    Waiting for your response!!!!@!

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