RIM Shoots Back at Apple’s Comments

Research In Motion—the maker of the BlackBerry—was less than pleased at Apple CEO Steve Job’s comments that the BlackBerry Bold 9700’s reception suffers when it is held a certain way. The comment came during a hastily called Friday press conference that was created to reassure customers that “Antennagate” as Jobs called it was not a big deal and that the iPhone 4 is like any other smartphone in that its reception is affected when held tightly in a bare human hand. Research In Motion (RIM) response was quick and to the point.

“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.” That is certainly true RIM. No one is bashing on BlackBerrys for reduced signal strength when they are held without a protective case. Perhaps the most heated comment from RIM’s statement was that BlackBerry owners do not need a case like Jobs promised every iPhone 4 owner during Apple’s press conference.

To be fair however, I did a little test of my own on a friend’s BlackBerry Bold 9700 running on AT&T’s network and found that holding the phone around the bottom in my hand did drop the signal strength by one or two bars each time. The signal did though immediately return to five bars when the phone was not gripped as tightly. While I would not call my test scientific by any means, nor am I trying to claim that BlackBerrys suffer from the same problems that the iPhone 4 does, Jobs was not entirely off point in claiming that most cell phones do have their reception negatively affecting when their antennas are covered by a human hand. Was it in good taste to try to throw RIM, Nokia and others under the bus with this one though? Probably not.

As for other iPhone models and their signal strength, I managed to make an unlocked iPhone 3G on T-Mobile’s network drop a bar when I held it tightly with my hand around the top. It took considerably longer to return to 5 bars than the BlackBerry I tested did. I will run some tests on an iPhone 3GS later in the week and report back when iOS 4.0.1 is jail broken and unlocked. You can however, rest assured that you do not need a case for your BlackBerry like iPhone 4 owners. Oh, and your Bluetooth actually works like it is supposed to.

Able to recreate Job’s experiment of making a BlackBerry lose bars when you grip it tightly?

Drop a comment and let us know.

And tell us if you think it was in good taste for Jobs to name names.

Tags: , , ,