Nokia Pokes Fun At iPhone ‘Death Grip’

Nokia has criticised the Apple iPhone 4’s antenna problem in a sarcastic online guide, but the company is in no position to carp given its falling market share, and its own signal issues.

Following the news that Apple’s latest iPhone 4 shipped with an antenna problem linked to the way the device is held, Nokia wasted no time in producing a tongue-in-cheek guide entitled “How do you hold your Nokia?”. However, online commentators have pointed out the company recently revised its profit predictions, and its own phones have problems with signal loss.

Nokia spoofs iPhone Death Grip

In the guide, Nokia outlines four different grips, dubbed ‘Thumb and Finger’, ‘The Cup’, ‘The Balance’ and ‘The Four Edge Grip’, all of which can be used by both left-handed and right-handed customers without any signal degradation.

The Four Edge Grip

Thumb and Finger involves gripping the phone by its edges, The Cup enables the user to cup the phone with their whole hand, The Balance involves using your little finger as a ledge for the bottom edge of the phone to rest on, and the Four Edge Grip creates a gap between the back of the phone and the palm, “which is useful. For something,” claims Nokia.

“Of course, feel free to ignore all of the above because realistically, you’re free to hold your Nokia device any way you like. And you won’t suffer any signal loss. Cool, huh?” the company added on its blog.

The guide is an obvious dig at Apple, after reports of the iPhone 4’s antenna problem began circulating almost immediately after its launch on 24 June.

Known as the ‘iPhone 4 Death Grip’, users who hold the device in the left hand with their palm covering the lower left part of the stainless steel band – that houses some of the antennae – are likely to either lose signal altogether, or experience a much weaker signal strength. The problem has been demonstrated in this YouTube video.

In response to the complaints, Apple described the problem as “a fact of life for every wireless phone”, and advised users to either change their grip or buy a ‘bumper’ to break direct contact with the antenna. However, these bumpers cost £25 – and will not be shipped until at least 16 July.

Nokia has problems of its own

It seems that Nokia may have been a little hasty in mocking Apple’s blunder. A number of videos have emerged on YouTube showing Nokia phone reception dropping when held. These include videos of a Nokia E71, Nokia 6230, and Nokia 6720.

Nokia’s criticism also rings hollowly, given the Finnish phone maker has been forced to downgrade its sales forecast for the rest of 2010 following competition from Apple and RIM. Second-quarter sales are more likely to be toward the lower end of, if not below, its previously expected range of 6.7 billion Euro (£5.6 billion) to 7.2 billion Euro (£6 billion), the company said in a 16 June statement.

This is largely due to increased competition at the high end of the market, from rivals such as Apple, Research In Motion and the growing variety of devices running Google’s Android OS. Nokia hopes that the forthcoming launch of its flagship N8 smartphone – the first mobile device to run the Symbian 3 OS – will tip the balance in its favour, but the launch has already been delayed, and some industry commentators believe the device will arrive too late.

And to add to the confusion, the N8 will be the last Nokia N-series phone to use the Symbian OS, as Nokia has announced the range will move to the MeeGo Linux platform.

“The interesting point here is that Nokia is lowering its outlook for the full year as well, meaning they recognise that Symbian 3 likely will not be enough to lift sales and that a turnaround probably won’t happen until Symbian 4 products hit the street in 2011,” said Ken Hyers, senior analyst with Technology Business Research.

Sophie Curtis

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