Samsung responds to Apple over antennagate

samsung responds to Apple over antennagate

And the quadfecta is now complete, with Samsung responding to Apple over the iPhone 4 press conference's demonstration of the death-grip causing signal loss on an Omnia II.

"The antenna is located at the bottom of the Omnia 2 phone, while iPhone's antenna is on the lower left side of the device. Our design keeps the distance between a hand and an antenna. We have fully conducted field tests before the rollout of smartphones. Reception problems have not happened so far, and there is no room for such problems to happen in the future"

Apple must be ecstatic. Any company that stayed quiet would have ridden out the story pretty much uninvolved. Any company -- now all of them -- that spoke up guaranteed their phones a bump in YouTube demos and/or free case requests.

And that "problems in the future" bit? Sigh. Early reports already indicate Samsung's new Galaxy S-class Captivate and Vibrant are having the same problem. Here's a sample from InformationWeek:

I have both a Samsung Vibrant and Captivate on hand for testing purposes. In both phones, the internal antenna is apparently located on the back of the phone, towards the very bottom edge. When gripped around the bottom of the phone (with either hand) the signal strength drops almost immediately. The Vibrant went from three bars to zero bars in about five seconds, and the Captivate went from four bars to zero bars in about six seconds. When I let go, the signal returns immediately.

Sure, death-grip isn't the same as iPhone 4's single-point touch, but in a media frenzy no phone is safe.

Video after the break.

Update: Samsung Galaxy S suffering from death-finger in second video after the break .

[Samsung Hub via Korea Herald via Gizmodo, InformationWeek]

Footnote: 
[via DF]

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Samsung responds to Apple over antennagate

26 Comments

Really? This plays well for apple? Isnt this the same company who's products are supposed to be better than everyone elses. Now they are falling back on - "Oh, all cel phones have this problem". I own many apple products and still see what lame justification this is.
And your column couldnt be further upp the butt of em. Your neck must hurt real bad.

Welcome to the world of electromagnetic and radio frequency communication. This is just a bunch of hoopla. This has always been a problem and will continue to be one. Yes, apple should have insulated their antenna, but it would have only reduced The problem, not absolved it. At some point we have to accept the facts of physics.

@John Oates:
The haters here don't understand physics...
... and they're not actually pissed off about the antenna problem, anyway. They're pissed because their hopes and dreams of Apple finally being hurt by something didn't pan out.

I'm really failing to see how the other companies responding pulls them any further into it or how that helps Apple. Apple called them out so they were going to be scrutinized anyway. And it only hurts Apple when stats like the HTC complaint rates come out or the other manufacturers decide to illustrate the difference between blocking an antenna and touching one or bridging two together. People don't wrap their phone in their hands to talk but they do touch the edges. And if even wrapping the phone doesn't actually cause the "death" in "death grip" which is dropped calls then they are really in for it.

I still do not understand how each company responding helps Apple? Ok so all this hype over the iPhone 4's antenna issues shined some light on holding the phone in "death grip" fashion drops signal. The problem majority of you are failing yo understand is with all the phones Steve pointed out, you can use them without cases and hold them using the "death grip" technique and you can still place calls.
I have the HTC Incredible, Blackberry Bold 9700, HTC Evo and iPhone 4 (32gig)and I have cases on none of my phones. Now to be fair I will compare the 9700 since it is on the same network. I can use my phone holding it like normal at my job that has terrible AT&T coverage and still place a call. With my iPhone 4, I can do the same but sometimes either I drop a call, call does not connect or it takes forever to connect.
See this is the problem, I don't care if I drop one or two bars because I am not some idiot staring at my bars all day but I do care if I can place a call or keep a call. ok so we can all agree phones drop signal holding it "death grip" style but how many lose connection or just simply do not connect?

Like others, I fail to see how other companies' responses help Apple or, for that matter, how their silence would've been a good thing.
John Oates: Reducing the problem would've been great wince this really is a problem of degrees.
Fastlane: if the other phones don't have an external, uncovered, and therefore more vulnerable, antenna system, the you're wrong about them all having the problem...or about the critics simply wanting to see Apple fall.

The issue of RF absorbtion has little to do with whether the antenna is internal or external. If your hands block enough RF to cause an issue it will do this regardless of whether they are in direct contact with the antenna or not.
The problem with the iPhone 4 though is not about RF absorbtion. When the GSM antenna is shorted with the WiFi antenna across that bottom left seam (even a coin will trigger it) something happens to the outgoing signal, which kills data connections and stops outgoing voice and potentially drops the voice call as well.
So it is disingenuous of Apple to make it seem like it is the same issue.

I feel like these other companies are well within their rights to speak up and weigh in the antenna issue. Apple pulled them into this whole nightmare during press conference, basically saying that their bad antenna is okay, since their competitor's antennas suck too. This being the case, these other companies have every right to step up and address these claims. I don't think them doing so "helps" Apple at all. If anything it just makes Apple look even more desperate, as all their competitors seek to distance themselves from the obvious PR nightmare that Apple has created. They've also created lots of lovely free press for their competitors, who are now going to great lengths to point out how well their antennas work in comparison to Apple's. If consumers didn't know the difference before- they absolutely do now.

@West3man:

Fastlane: if the other phones don’t have an external, uncovered, and therefore more vulnerable, antenna system, the you’re wrong about them all having the problem.

I said they all phones have the problem? Where? You must have my comment mistaken for someone else's... or read it too fast.
The fact that Apple will continue to sell millions and millions more iPhone 4s, Macs, and iPods angers those who'd hoped Apple would be crushed by this.
Read the comments here from the last two days.

@Charles for you I wound't worry about your iPhone not calling you have plenty of other phones to call on. What do you have a belt with phones wrapped around it. :)

Apple has a right to show other phones do it, and the other companies have right to respond. I don't really care though, mine works good and you will never win a argument here.

You and Apple must be ECSTATIC! this kind of reporting will definitely fix my i4 antenna problem. Thx Rene! Thx for helping fixing the problem for apple. 

And here is the brilliance of Steve's mind...
Genious!
And, Lequang242... Go return it man, neither Rene nor Steve himself can fix YOUR problem!

You nailed it. Jobs (like it or not) can be a magician. What he says explicitly isn't what's important, it's all a setup for the behind-the-scenes real effort. Apple may have attempted to pull the other vendors in, but their responses made it a fait accompli. Their best play would have been to ignore it (but I think apple played it such that the others had no good options, only less bad ones).
Apple sets a precedent by offering a response. What will the other vendors do?
At worst, this may temporarily delay some sales while the dust settles (and that may be a win for apple, given the torrid pace thus far).
It's like tennis. You may root for certain players, but the spectators' joy is in the well-placed volleys & game strategy.

@steveg, if you know so well that Apple practically sucks, why DO YOU HAVE SO MANY APPLE PRODUCTS? Are you incapable of thought?
Go buy something else and stop whining! Oh, geez!
A week or more, on a single stupid topic, all over the news. And someone might think you're actually saving the world with your iPhone 4's... Gush!
I love mine. If you don't, go some other shop...

Emre, I did not say that Apple sucks. And yes I have many of their products. Only that in this instance - they have dropped the ball.
Please read carefully before you spout.

The "AntennaGate" story is old. The fact is that all cell phones (smart and dumb phones like with internal antenna) have antenna issues to some degree. In the past the issue had not been scrutinized or hyped as much until the iPhone 4.
What Apple did is level the the playing field to show that this is common across multiple devices in brands. It does not justify the issue for Apple, but it was clearly intended to point out the challenges with RF engineering that ALL handset manufactures contend with. Now all handset manufactures will be scrutinized on RF performance equally and Apple will no longer be singled out as the "only" manufacturer with this problem - its everybodies problem.
For myself, It has not been an issue for me and my iPhone 4. If it was I would simply return it and get something else which will also have some sort of antenna problem depending on where I hold it.

It wasn't to hurt the other vendors, all it was about is showing that antenna's can be a issue on a lot of phones. It's showing that's it's a cell problem and they were trying to make a better Antenna but it didn't work as expected, not thinking everyone would have the grip issue. Which everyone doesn't it just exploded into looking like it.

@ jim...yes....very old.
see people its in other phones too. so now we can all quit our b*thcing and move on with our lifes.

My Palm Pre works fine.... :)
I have to admit the iPhone4 has got the whole world watching.... Can't be easy.... Love the new hardware hope HPalm can learn something !
An iPhone without signal is just an iPod... Hope it gets fixed soon guys... New case don't cut it !

I don't understand how this is supposed to be a good thing for Apple.
The whole issue with the iPhone 4 is that you could get the problem holding the phone in a plausible way. There's nothing even remotely plausible about the way the phone is being held in this video. If you shove the phone up your a$$, you're going to get terrible reception, too, but that doesn't mean that Apple has a valid point. The whole point here was that the phone was designed in such a way to make it easy to screw up the reception, without even trying.

Like everyone else, these responses do not help Apple! I don't know where you getting that idea, and they don't hurt the other companies either. They're responding because they DON'T have the problem. That's why no one has ever had this problem with these earlier released phones, and that's why no one has complained for a case!
Ahh I just can't wait to put this issue behind us, the point is, Apple's iPhone 4 has Antenna that is a REAL problem for some users and can only be fixed by using a case, where as other smartphonese (may exhibit the problem) but not in a way that would cause the end user to have problems, and thus does not need to fixed.

Complaints: Returns: why would anyone return a 4 when it fetches more on craigslist or eBay?
BS argument