Apple updated its smartphone antenna performance Web page on Wednesday to include Nokia’s N97 mini. Like the other smartphones listed on the page, Apple shows the N97 mini’s signal bars dropping when holding the phone in a normal fashion.
The new video on the Apple Web page shows the N97 mini’s signal strength bars drop from eight down to two over the course of a minute. The demonstration shows yet another smartphone succumbing to the same issue that has been the focus of iPhone 4 complaints, and also underscores the fact that there isn’t any standardization in how cell signal strength is represented from phone to phone.
Apple posted the new Web page after holding a hastily organized press conference last week to address concerns over iPhone 4 signal strength issues related to the combination iPod and smartphone’s external antenna bands.
Company CEO Steve Jobs said during the event that most every smartphone is susceptible to signal strength loss when held so the antennas are obstructed. Several phone makers responded by implying their phones don’t suffer from the same problems as the iPhone 4.
Nokia reacted to Apple’s revelation by stating “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 bosses Jim Balsille and Mike Lazaridis were a little more to the point with their comments. “Apple’s attempt to draw RIM into Apple’s self-made debacle is unacceptable,” they said.
HTC CFO, Hui-Meng Cheng, added “The reception problems are certainly not common among smartphones” even as Apple was showing the company’s Droid Eris losing its signal when held normally.
Apple released iOS 4.0.1 to improve the accuracy of the iPhone’s signal strength bars and is offerring all iPhone 4 owners free Bumpers or cases, too. Apple plans to have its free case Web site up and running before the end of the week.
Video demonstrations of smartphone antenna performance for several company’s phones are available at the Apple Web site.