Sorry Jobs, Nokia really doesn’t suffer from reception issues

Steve Jobs held an Apple press conference today to talk about the iPhone 4 reception issues and said that everyone in the smartphone industry has a problem with reception and the iPhone 4 is a marvel of engineering. I don’t recall him specifically mentioning Nokia, which makes sense since my personal experiences with over 25 Nokia smartphones shows them to clearly have superior RF reception. Even though Nokia clearly shows where the antennas are in their manuals, I find I get excellent reception pretty much no matter how I hold my device.

Nokia followed up the press conference by issues their own statement regarding this issue:

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.

In general, antenna performance of a mobile device/phone may be affected with a tight grip, depending on how the device is held. That’s why Nokia designs our phones to ensure acceptable performance in all real life cases, for example when the phone is held in either hand. Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying how people hold their phones and allows for this in designs, for example by having antennas both at the top and bottom of the phone and by careful selection of materials and their use in the mechanical design.

Have you experienced the same solid reception on your Nokia smartphones?

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38 Comments to Sorry Jobs, Nokia really doesn’t suffer from reception issues

Ron Churchill
July 16, 2010

Talk about a PR dept being on the ball! Nicely done, Nokia.

Juan
July 16, 2010

Nothing can beat a Nokia when talking about RF, period.

Stephen
July 16, 2010

I too agree and think it was great that nokia jumped in this and ironic that Jobs specifically didn’t mention nokia in his release. Matt thank you for pointing this out. In my N900, E63, 6682, 6126, 8910i I never had reception issues by the way I hold it.

Nick
July 16, 2010

My E71 suffered from signal drop when you held it left handed and semi covered the bottom. The became reknown for it.
In the teal world (just like with iPhone 4) it wasn’t a huge issue.

matt
July 16, 2010

—Steve Jobs didn’t use Nokia as an example when showing the drop in bars like he did with Blackberry Bold 9700, HTC Droid Eris, and Samsung Omnia II.
—6 minutes and 21 seconds into the press conference, Steve Jobs did mention Nokia saying, “You can go on YouTube and see videos of Nokia phones and Motorola phones and other phones doing the same thing. Nobody ever really looked at them much before. And frankly, we didn’t trust them either.”
—What is VERY interesting is the videos Apple used to demonstrate signal loss. Each phone (Blackberry Bold 9700, HTC Droid Eris, and Samsung Omnia II) was held in different ways, purposely covering the antenna, in different locations, unique to that phone. Why not just hold each phone the same way, like a normal person would, and see if a “normal” grip would affect signal degradation? Well, probably because a normal grip on the iPhone 4 causes massive signal degradation, unlike the other phones.
—What they did not show in the press conference video on Apple’s website was the questions and answer session at the end. Engadget reported on someone asking why, on their Blackberry Bold 9700, they were unable to replicate the same results Apple showed. The response? Something along the lines of bad service area. Ok, Apple.
—I have owned many Nokia devices. Not a single one, EVER lost one bar, due to the way I hold it.
—So, how did Apple fix the problem? They didn’t. It’s a hardware problem and no amount of software can fix it. Showing us how Apple tests the phones does nothing for the consumer. We, meaning the general public, does not care! They are so good and spinning a situation to make themselves look better. I personally don’t care that there are 18 PhD scientists and engineers working on the antennas. Obviously it isn’t enough because Apple is now hiring antenna engineers according to their website.
—Eventually, even the iSheep will turn against Apple.

Rzz
July 17, 2010

N97 here and def no bad reception no matter how i hold the phone and no matter how long.

[…] official response from Nokia to Apple’s iPhone 4 press conference yesterday, despite Steve Jobs not demonstrating a death-grip on a Nokia phone the way they did RIM’s BlackBerry, HTC’s Droid Eris, and Samsung’s Omnia. Here’s the full response: […]

[…] official reply from Nokia to Apple’s iPhone 4 press conference yesterday, notwithstanding Steve Jobs not demonstrating the death-grip upon the Nokia phone the approach they did RIM’s BlackBerry, HTC’s Droid Eris, as well as Samsung’s Omnia. Here’s the full response: […]

John
July 17, 2010

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amPG52DVQuk

Yes, Nokia DOES, sorry Nokia.

[…] official response from Nokia to Apple’s iPhone 4 press conference yesterday, despite Steve Jobs not demonstrating a death-grip on a Nokia phone the way they did RIM’s BlackBerry, HTC’s Droid Eris, and Samsung’s Omnia. Here’s the full response: […]

Stephen
July 17, 2010

@John I appreciate the attempt to state that E71 has the same problems but as many on here that actually have the E71 will verify that the youtube video is a fluke. I have the sister to the E71 the E63 and never experienced any drop in bars no matter how I held it. I currently have the N900 and same goes never lose bars cause of the way I hold it.

matt
July 17, 2010

@Stephen – You are 100% correct. I own the e71 and the N900. I haven’t had these problems.
It’s funny how Apple has no excuse for their design flaw, so others are out to make some up for Apple. Talk about brand loyalty.

lee
July 17, 2010

@matt & @stephen – the point is that the iPhone 4 antenna problems are also a fluke. It isn’t widespread. Real people who aren’t actively trying to degrade signal are very unlikely to see the signal drop.

Every single phone has this problem. Every one. Just like if you put a phone in a lead bag it degrades the signal.

lee
July 17, 2010

…oh and the reason Nokia wasn’t mentioned in the conference, they aren’t relevant anymore.

[…] official response from Nokia to Apple’s iPhone 4 press conference yesterday, despite Steve Jobs not demonstrating a death-grip on a Nokia phone the way they did RIM’s BlackBerry, HTC’s Droid Eris, and Samsung’s Omnia. Here’s the full response: […]

Stephen
July 17, 2010

@lee um…I think the apple issue is a little bit bigger, I mean if I have an issue with the E71 I have no other choices, after all since Nokia is irrelevant then they only make one device and don’t diversify their devices for different markets, oh wait they do that. All I am saying lee is that apple put themselves in the position by claiming they make the best product, but one of the reasons I like Nokia is cause the device options are there for evertype. Oh yeah and to thinking that Nokia is irrelevant is like giving up on apple when they couldn’t break into any market from 1984 until 1997 so don’t discount a company that originally made bike tires and somehow became the global leader in mobile phones. Apple made a niche product and likes to control what people can do with their phone, Nokia let’s you do what you want with your phone, like my N900, who needs an app store when there is the linux community.

[…] official response from Nokia to Apple’s iPhone 4 press conference yesterday, despite Steve Jobs not demonstrating a death-grip on a Nokia phone the way they did RIM’s BlackBerry, HTC’s Droid Eris, and Samsung’s Omnia. Here’s the full response: […]

SAABoy
July 17, 2010

i remember steve jobs saying all phones have this issue and i instantly thought “never noticed any reception issues with any of my past nokia’s, hmmm…”

lol. no problems here with reception…

[…] And here is the official response from official response from Nokia […]

[…] official response from Nokia to Apple’s iPhone 4 press conference yesterday, despite Steve Jobs not demonstrating a death-grip on a Nokia phone the way they did RIM’s BlackBerry, HTC’s Droid Eris, and Samsung’s Omnia. Here’s the full response: […]

John
July 18, 2010

@Stephen I don’t own a nokia E71, but I think that you must/need to use an AT&T simcard + be in a weak signal zone to reproduce what’s seen on that video (same conditions as in iphones 4).

I don’t live in USA but is it true that AT&T has the worst cellphone network in USA?

Ching
July 18, 2010

For the record – I like Nokia phones (had an E71) and Apple’s iPhones. I have to say that it has been my experience that both phones have issues. Nokia E71 had reception problems similar to iPhone4. See :
http://www.boygeniusreport.com/2008/08/04/nokia-e71-2-reception-issues-mmm/

[…] by Jobs’ broad allegations that “they do it too!”, Nokia and RIM fired back with quick […]

stephen
July 18, 2010

@john I’ve had both at&t and t-mobile (only gsm based providers in the states. the coverage depends on where you are, namely in or near a city and you are good. the problem i think that caused lapses in their service is with the iphone and required unlimited data plan there was a larger draw on the network that at&t didn’t adequately prepare. i wouldn’t say they are the worst just didn’t anticipate the way their new customers would use the network, buying and downloading apps like crazy. the odd part of that video is that the owner acknowledges that there were problems with his microcell

Paul
July 18, 2010

Just last night I sat in a restaurant with a 1000 euro iPhone 3Gs in my hand and a friend of mine beside had some free Nokia he got from Vodafone on a pre-pay account. Who was able to send txt messages, make calls, go online? One thing’s for sure, it wasn’t me with my iPhone.

If the iPhone 4 is worse, then I won’t be buying one.

matt
July 18, 2010

@Lee- If Nokia isn’t relevant anymore, then Steve Jobs WOULDN’T have mentioned them. Instead, he did. It’s the competition. HTC is also a very strong company. RIM has been in the market for a long time and has been holding their ground. Regarding the iPhone poor hardware design being a fluke. Ya. Guess it was a fluke that EVERY iPhone 4 has the problem. If it was a fluke problem, then Steve Jobs would have just given cases to people that had the problem. Instead, realizing that it was a physical HARDWARE problem, there was nothing he could have done to fix it unless every iPhone 4 owner was given a case. How Apple fanboys try to spin a design flaw in a product, admitted by the CEO of the company, is beyond me. While every phone may have reception issues by holding it, the iPhone 4 can experience it while touching the device. Steve Jobs, on several occasions during the press conference had to correct himself. He would say something like, “The iPhone would experience problems when you touch…grip it that way.” He knew that by just touching the phone in the lower-left corner, the phone would have problems. It’s just just gripping the phone that causes complete signal loss. Also, when asked by an audience member, that owned a Blackberry 9700, the same phone Apple ‘conducted tests on,’ “I can’t make my Blackberry lose service, can you show me?” Apple blew off the question with a lame excuse. Apple is the only company that I can think of that has a playbook called, “excuses.” They are a master at this. Do we care how Apple tests their phone? No. Do we care how much they spent on their testing labs? No. They should admit to the fact that there is a problem and stop trying to pin this as a problem affecting other companies the same way. Let’s say for example, Samsung releases a phone with camera problems. It would look bad if Samsung held a press conference and said, “Well, there are other mobile companies with camera problems in their phones. It’s a fact of the industry.” In my lifetime, this is the biggest blunder in the mobile phone world. Somehow I knew iSheep would still run with their wallets open to a company that blows it off as a common problem.

[…] official response from Nokia to Apple’s iPhone 4 press conference yesterday, despite Steve Jobs not demonstrating a death-grip on a Nokia phone the way they did RIM’s BlackBerry, HTC’s Droid Eris, and Samsung’s Omnia. Here’s the full response: […]

Nick
July 18, 2010

Apple didn’t show Nokia phones because Nokia flagships have no resonance with US consumers, if you show most people a n97 or a n900, they’ll wonder what kind of phone it is, it would make the message look less credible. A blackberry and android phones seems more mainstream and modern. That said, this was an uncharacteristic blunder for Apple both in PR and engineering, say what you will about them, they tend to make solid devices. Less than %1 defective units is pretty astounding to me. Nokia makes solid devices, they just make decisions that I simply don’t understand. The nokia n97 and n97 mini left me especially confused, why make a flagship that is just so dead in the water. Low amounts of memory, slow processor, no GPU, just plain odd really. I’d like to know who was leading that team.

roland eitler
July 19, 2010

nokia phone – especially SYMBIAN ones – sucks.
i would prefer an iphone4 WITHOUT antenna even more than using an symbian one with the BEST antenna in the world.
and:
nokia already wrote many times “how-to-hold-the-cell-phone” in their manuals.
and i HAD INDEED THE SAME RECEPTION ISSUE ON AN X6!!!!
so just calm down and do your homework: it´s easy to beat the company with the best smartphone just by searching for kind of small mistakes (small: 0,55%!) – but Nokia should puit theier prower to get rid of f**** outdated symbian OS.
i WAS a nokia-fanboy BUT symbian was the reason why i left finally Nokia-phones after years.

[…] a mesma linha, e emitiu o seguinte informe imediatamente após a conferência (tradução livre, original aqui): “Design de antena é um assunto complexo e tem sido uma competência prioritária na Nokia […]

[…] empresas citadas por Jobs não gostaram. Samsung, RIM, Nokia e HTC soltaram notas repudiando o ato. Temos que concordar que as comparações foram um tremendo […]

matt
July 19, 2010

@roland eitler – You’re arguments are null and void. No one can take you seriously because you lack education to thoroughly put your thoughts into any comprehensible language that we can understand.

[…] Nokia and antenna reception […]

[…] official response from Nokia to Apple’s iPhone 4 press conference yesterday, despite Steve Jobs not demonstrating a death-grip on a Nokia phone the way they did RIM’s BlackBerry, HTC’s Droid Eris, and Samsung’s Omnia. Here’s the full response: […]

N900 freak
July 30, 2010

Ha ha Steve.. get a Nokia N900 – and see how a phone should be designed. I just love this phone. Perfect reception and sound quality. If it had boobs and blond hair I would marry it :-)
Now I’m just waiting for a even larger version of this phone.. N900 BIG or the N1000… that would rock.
7 inch high quality display, and all the rest of the N900 features. A bigger keyboard ofcourse AND a USB slot for standard USB memory pens.
And a BIIIG battery to handle all the hours of use.
Think about this. It would compete against palmtops/micro laptops, could use is as a good GPS in the car, use it as a source for music and audiobooks and so on. It would be the only product I would need. They should just ship it with an advanced blutooth headset/earpiece and maybe a small blutooth “dialer” with a small OLED or maybe epaper screen – so the main phone could stay in my work jacket while I call people at work. The dialer should just be connected to the phone contacts. I would actually buy a product like this.
A small waterproof bluetooth dialer would be nice in the boat/kayak as well.
I think the MeeGo deal with the auto industry is interesting. I would like to see a Nokia device that I could use as a small laptop, a GPS and as my music and video player.
And in the car, I could use it to connect to the cars system to make adjustementes. Like a touch screen AC, Screen for the car stereo (or in this case the car’s amp – because that’s all one would need). The phone can handle the sound/video and the amp can juice it up for the speakers.
Please Nokia, please :-)

Acenair
October 28, 2010

All said and done, the Nokia N9 does have signal issues, just place the nokia on your palm, and you will see the signal going down. There has to be some or the other design flaw with Nokia,

Acenair
October 28, 2010

I appologise its not the N9, but it is the N8. And had confirmed the same with Nokia as well, they come up with an answer saying that the N8 is very complex with a Capacitive Sensor ( How does a capacitive sensor effect signal ) and so on so forth. At the end of the day it still has an issue and all they can do is a refund, instead of fixing it. Keeps letting us down.

Luis A Moreta
June 10, 2011

I have two Nokia Astounds C7 My wife and mine both loses reception. It really sucks.


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