Talk about being a smarty pants. In what can be described as the marketing equivalent of flipping the finger at the competition, Samsung has begun giving away free Galaxy S smartphones to a select group of angry iPhone 4 owners.
"Recently there has been a real increase in online activity from consumers dissatisfied with some of our competitors' products," Samsung said. "We decided to contact a cross section of individuals to offer them a free Samsung Galaxy S as a replacement, as we're confident that once people have the phone in their hands, they'll see how impressive it is for themselves."
Of course, not just anyone with an iPhone 4 can cry foul over the well publicized antennae issue and expect to receive a free smartphone from Samsung in return. Instead, the mobile phone maker is targeting users it deems as influential through social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.
The hits just keep on coming for Apple as of late. After finally addressing the iPhone 4 antenna issue last week, they have now announced that the white version of the phone is going to be delayed until later in 2010. Previously it was supposed to show up in the second half of July. Apple cites unexpected manufacturing issues.
There are a number of theories on just what is causing the delay. Perhaps the most conspiratorial of them is that Apple may be refining the antenna design on this model. More likely is that the glass back is not clear enough and makes the white iPhone look almost off-white. Call us crazy, but with all the things that can go wrong with a smartphone, we wouldn't have expected the color to be a big issue.
With this setback, and the recent antennagate fiasco, the iPhone's sterling image is looking a little tarnished. What do you think is holding up the phone?
Apple took a pretty risky approach by pointing the finger at competitors in response to perceived antenna issues on the iPhone 4, and both RIM and Nokia are fighting back. According to Blackberry manufacturer Research In Motion: "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." The strongly worded statement urges Apple to take responsibility for their poor design decisions, and reminds everyone they don't need a case to get the most out of a Blackberry.
Nokia wasn't specifically named by Apple at the press conference, but they still took advantage of the situation to remind everyone that antenna design is the most important design consideration they make. "In general, antenna performance of a mobile device/phone may be affected with a tight grip, depending on how the device is held. That's why Nokia designs our phones to ensure acceptable performance in all real life cases, for example when the phone is held in either hand. Nokia has invested thousands of man hours in studying how people hold their phones and allows for this in designs, for example by having antennas both at the top and bottom of the phone and by careful selection of materials and their use in the mechanical design." The most damning statement in Nokia's release was "we prioritize antenna performance over physical design if they are ever in conflict."
Steve Jobs may have believed that he could take the spotlight off the iPhone problems by naming a few competitors with the same issue, but all he did was draw a bullseye on his back attracting the ire of some pretty big names within the wireless industry. Gutsy move.
Apple has been mostly silent on the issue of the reported iPhone 4 antenna issues, but in a press conference today, Jobs responded. Apple didn't really apologize for the whole problem, but they admitted it was happening. To appease customers that have had a hard time with reception, Apple will be sending out free cases to all interested parties. There will be a sign up page later next week.
It didn't take long after the smartphone came out for users to notice that covering the gap between the two antennas caused a precipitous drop in signal. It seems that after Consumer Reports decided against recommending the phone, Apple decided to take action. In addition to the free cases (which will be from a number of manufacturers, as Apple can't make Bumpers fast enough), those that bought Bumper can get a refund, and keep the Bumper.
It's nice that Apple is willing to do something. We were half expecting Steve Jobs to get up on stage and tell everyone to go pound sand. But it still seems crazy to us that Apple let the desire for great design get in the way of the functionality. The result is just that too many consumers will have to cover up the great design anyway. Let us know if you think Apple blew it, or saved themselves.
Back before we had ever heard of the iPhone 4, Gizmodo got their hands on a prototype. You've probably heard about that. The resulting criminal investigation resulted in GIzmodo editor Jason Chen having his home searched by the authorities. In the process, they confiscated all his electronic devices. Now the San Mateo County District Attorney has had the warrant withdrawn. Mr. Chen will be getting his stuff back, for now at least.
The EFF has long claimed the warrant was issued illegally, and points to California’s Penal Code section 1524(g), which disallows the use of warrants to obtain "unpublished information obtained or prepared in gathering, receiving or processing information for communication to the public.” This is part of what is often called the shield law. The EFF goes on to point out that another warrant could be issued at any time to obtain the items again. Is this the end of it, or will the investigation continue?
By now everyone's heard about the iPhone 4's controversial antenna problem, which Steve Jobs has labeled as a "non-issue." But while this is all relatively recent news to consumers, an Apple engineer claims he warned Jobs during the early design phase of the iPhone 4 that dropped calls was going to be a strong possibility, Bloomberg reports.
This isn't just any Apple engineer either, but a senior antenna expert in Apple's ranks who, according to Bloomberg's anonymous source, foresaw the scenario now being played out.
"Last year, Ruben Caballero, a senior engineer and antenna expert, informed Apple's management the device's design may cause recpetion problems, said the person, who is not authorized to speak on Apple's behalf and asked not to be identified," Bloomberg reports.
Bloomberg goes on to say that a carrier partner also raised concerns about the antenna before its June 24 release. By all indications, this is something that could and should have been avoided, but then again, we'd be left without entertaining quips, both from Jobs himself (telling users they're holding the phone wrong), and from Microsoft, who likened the iPhone 4 to Vista.
"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that," Microsoft's COO Kevin Turner said during his keynote speech at the Worldiwde Partner Conference.
There's quite a spat brewing between Fring and Skype over just who should be offering people free video calls over 3G. Fring made quite the bit of news last week when they released an updated app for the iPhone that allowed video calls over 3G using the Skype protocol, as well as its own standard. The calls could be placed to computers, Android phones, iPhones, and Symbian phones. Shortly after release, Fring turned off Skype due to what they claimed was excessive traffic. Now they are saying that Skype actually forced them to stop using the Skype system by blocking them, and sending some nasty legal threats over.
Skype said in a blog post that, " Fring’s mis-use of our software was increasingly damaging our brand and reputation with our customers." They go on to say that they did not block Fring from working, but have been talking to the startup about the situation. Skype contends that Fring is violating the Skype EULA.
Fring's corresponding blog post is a bit more aggressive, calling Skype "cowards" for blocking their app. This is probably going to take some time to work out, so grab some popcorn and get ready for the next round of accusations.
Consumer Reports may have jumped the gun just a tiny bit when they talked up the iPhone 4 in their initial rundown. Now after finishing their usual round of testing, Consumer Reports has decided to officially not recommend the iPhone 4. The reason? That magical external antenna hates being touched.
Consumer Reports used a radio frequency isolation chamber to test the new iPhone, like they do all phones. They can accurately measure the real signal impact when the gap between the two antennas it touched. They report that the iPhone 4 is dropping in excess of 20 dBm, which they say is enough to drop a call.
Indeed, many consumers could have told you that after they purchased one, but now we're hearing it from the holiest of holy in consumer product testing. Consumer reports also notes that covering the antenna with non-conductive material (like tape or a case) will alleviate the signal loss issues. We're going to go out on a limb here, and just start referring to this whole fiasco as antennagate. Anyone have an iPhone? What are your experiences with the antenna?
The Maximum PC editors are back from the long July 4th weekend, and using our somehow-still-intact fingers to upload another episode of the No BS Podcast. This week, Gordon, Nathan, Alex and Andy debate the iPhone 4, giant hard drives, and Mad Catz' crazy R.A.T. gaming mouse. Gordon unlocks the level 3 rage perk, and tells what he thinks of the latest fad in games.
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by.
Best Buy still hasn't managed to find its funny bone, but at least the company isn't going to fire Brian Maupin, the 25-year-old graphic art student who uploaded a handful of awesome videos mocking the whole mobile phone war. If you haven't seen them yet, stop whatever it is you're doing and kick back for the next few minutes, so long as your boss, kids, and anyone else easily offended by foul language is out of earshot, there's a fair amount of cursing. When the coast is clear, click here and here.
Pretty funny, right? Best Buy didn't think so, and so it suspended Brian Maupin, and it appeared as though he would later be fired. Maybe the media attention had something to do with it, or the fact that Maupin did in fact remove several other less popular videos that mentioned the retail store by name, but either way, he's not getting a pink slip, NBC reports.
"We have completed our investigation into the videos created and posted by Brian Maupin, the aspiring filmmaker and Best Buy employee," Best Buy said in a statement. "This is an important situation for us because it involved balancing our social media guidelines with a commitment to creating a supportive environment for our employees. It's important to note that our investigation involved three videos that were posted in late June because they were openly disparaging of our employees, our customers and our vendor partners. Our investigation is over, and these videos are no longer on the web. Contrary to rumors, Brian has not been fired and is scheduled to return to his job at Best Buy this Friday."
Whether that's a blessing or a curse remains to be seen, and is something Maupin will have to figure out.
"At this point, I haven't decided if it would be appropriate to return," Maupin wrote on his Twitter account.