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Nokia makes merry with iPhone death-grip

Or as merry as Finns can be, anyway

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Nokia has joined Motorola in capitalising on the iPhone 4's notorious antenna problems.

Nokia has published a helpful post entitled How Do You Hold Your Nokia? on its corporate blog. The punchline, predictably, being that “you’re free to hold your Nokia device any way you like. And you won’t suffer any signal loss.”

Which is mostly, but not completely true. All phones lose some RF capability if obscured by the salty bag of water that is the human body. The flaw in Apple's design, as AnandTech's excellent testing has revealed, is the lack of coating on the antenna.

“Anything conductive which bridges the gap in the bottom left couples the antennas together, detuning the precisely engineered antennas," the authors note. "It's a problem of impedance matching with the body as an antenna, and the additional antenna that becomes part of the equation when you touch the bottom left."

It's a small, but monumentally silly design mistake.

Unlike Motorola's jibes, there's teeth behind Nokia's. Nokia has launched three fusillades of lawsuits against Apple, seeking to halt iPhone shipments. Funnily enough, four of the five patents in the third and most recent lawsuit, filed in May, related to antenna design.

Apple has countersued PDF, claiming that it's acting anti-competitively: that what Nokia was really after was Apple's own IP (making it conditional of a settlement between the two), seeking extortionate royalties, and accusing it of misleading standards authorities when it donated the same IP to the patent pool.

But Apple doesn't really need to respond with knocking copy - not when Nokia's carefully cultivated fans are deserting. One of Nokia's most popular fan bloggers today jumped ship.

Ricky Gadden, who ran the Symbian Guru site for almost four years, explained that: “I can’t continue to support a manufacturer who puts out such craptastic ‘flagships’ as the N97, and who expects me to use services that even most of Nokia’s own employees don’t use.”

Gadden was referring to the dog's breakfast that is Ovi. But at least that's easily fixable, and few would mourn it. ®

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