updated 03:15 pm EDT, Sun July 18, 2010
HTC says Droid Eris sees far fewer antenna calls
HTC took its turn at responding to Apple's cellphone reception defense by pointing to the low problem rate with its own phones. While Apple claimed to have just 0.55 percent of calls to AppleCare centering on reception problems, HTC said late Saturday that the same rate for the Droid Eris -- which Apple singled out as having such a problem -- was just 0.016 percent. Company PR manager Eric Lin told Pocket-lint that there were "very few" complaints of the kind with the now discontinued Android phone.
The design of the Droid Eris, and its sibling phone the Hero, is somewhat unique as its main antenna is near the top of the phone. Apple and most other smartphone producers put the cellular antennas further to the bottom to reduce the amount of radiation potentially entering the user's head and thus to lower the SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) that might be measured in a test.
The answer follows after harsher commentary by from Nokia and RIM that, to varying degrees, accused Apple of neglecting the practical aspects of using the design in favor of claiming better theoretical reception. Nokia did, however, stress that sensitivity to human hands was a problem across the whole smartphone market and wasn't limited to just Apple. Most of Apple's challenge stems from making the steel frame the antenna, as it lets the capacitance of human hands bridge the antennas easily and cut the signal faster than when touching a device with antennas placed on the inside.