Nokia, RIM and HTC hit out at Apple reception claims

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Nokia, RIM and HTC hit out at Apple reception claims

Major mobile manufacturers have taken issue with Apple chief executive Steve Jobs's claim that reception issues are not just an iPhone 4 problem.

Jobs suggested at a press conference on Friday that the antenna problems affecting the iPhone 4 are "a challenge for the whole industry".

The Apple chief backed this assertion by showing pictures of handsets from rivals HTC, Nokia and Research In Motion (RIM), which he claimed are also subject to reception problems owing to the so-called 'death grip' that has affected the iPhone 4.

However, Nokia and RIM accused Jobs of trying to deflect criticism from his latest smartphone onto other manufacturers.

A joint statement from RIM chief executives Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie described Jobs's attempt to draw RIM into Apple's "self-made debacle" as " unacceptable".

They also said that RIM had deliberately avoided designs like the one Apple used in the iPhone 4, where the antenna forms the seal around the edge of the handset, because of the risk of dropped calls, particularly in low network coverage areas.

And in a swipe at one of Apple's proposed solutions to assuage users, they added: "One thing is for certain: RIM's customers don't need to use a case for their BlackBerry smartphone to maintain proper connectivity."

Nokia also issued a blunt statement, pointing to Apple's decision to elevate form over function. "We prioritise antenna performance over physical design if they are ever in conflict," the company said.

On Monday, HTC and Samsung also denied Jobs's claims. HTC took the stance that the iPhone problems are not common to other smartphones, while Samsung said that it used "internal antenna design technology that optimises reception quality for any type of hand-grip use", according to the The Wall Street Journal.

Despite igniting an industry war of words, Apple's tactics do not seem to have harmed its market standing, and financial analysts say that iPhone 4 demand remains high, according to the Financial Times.

One UK company working overtime is O2, which was once the handset's exclusive retailer in the UK. The company issued a statement over the weekend to head off demand for the iPhone 4 case or refund that Apple has offered.

"Please don't call customer service or visit an O2 shop with questions about the announcement at this time," O2 said. "They will not be able to give you any more info."

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