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Rivals rubbish iPhone 4 antenna denial

Leading rivals of iPhone 4 maker Apple have hit back at claims made by the company's CEO, Steve Jobs, at a press conference on Friday that all smartphones were dogged by reception issues.

Smartphone makers Nokia, HTC and Research In Motion (RIM) took issue with Jobs' claim that antenna problems were "a challenge for the whole industry".

Jobs used the press conference to deflect criticism of Apple over what Jobs himself dubbed "Antennagate" - accusations that a basic design flaw makes the new iPhone lose reception when held in a certain way. Jobs called reports that Apple knew of the flaw before release a "crock", and suggested that handsets from HTC, Nokia, RIM and Samsung were similarly affected. Apple has offered a free rubber Bumper case for all iPhone 4 users in an attempt to eliminate the problem.

RIM's co-chief executives Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsille told Britain's Daily Telegraph: "Apple's attempt to draw RIM into Apple's self-made debacle is unacceptable. 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."

"One thing is for certain, RIM's customers don't need to use a case for their BlackBerry to maintain proper connectivity," they added.

Nokia, which invented the internal antenna with its 8810 handset in 1998, came up with a more measured but equally tetchy response. The company called into question Apple's über-cool credentials by suggesting the company had put aesthetics before function, saying:

"We prioritise antenna performance over physical design if they are ever in conflict."

HTC, whose Droid Eris phone was shown by Jobs to have the worst signal problems of all during the presentation on Friday, hit back simply by publishing its record of complaints. Where Jobs had boasted that just 0.055 per cent of iPhone 4 users had complained of signal problems, HTC told tech news site Pocket Lint the figure for the Droid Eris was just 0.016 per cent.