HTC Droid Eris

While HTC didn't quite come out swinging like RIM did after Apple's Friday press conference, spokesman Eric Lin wasn't afraid to let Pocket-Lint in on some hard numbers of their own.  If you recall, Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs remarked that only 0.55 percent of users have called in to complain about signal issues with the new iPhone 4.  He also proceeded to show some pretty pictures of other cell phones signal bar display while being held 'the wrong way' -- including our own Droid Eris.  Now, 0.55 percent is an awfully low number, but it looks huge when compared to the numbers Mr. Lin gives us -- "Approximately .016% of customers."  I'm no math wizard, but that's less.  A lot less. About 35 times less. ( I asked a math wizard.)

This begs us to address the point of Friday's spectacle press conference. Luckily, our pal Rene over at TiPb went through the trouble of rounding up a slew of SPE writer and editor's take on the whole thing, which turns out is a really good read.  Do yourself a favor and check it out. 

Comments are open, feel free to discuss percentages versus sales, your experiences with the Eris' signal, and what you think of the way our poor lil' Eris got dragged through the mud.  Just try to keep the flames to a minimum please :) [Pocket-lint]


Reader comments

HTC responds to 'Antennagate' with numbers - very (important) tiny numbers


Percentages are percentages, if you sell a thousand or 10 million. It is probably the best way to indicate the issues and HTC being at .016 is way less than .55% that Apple has. Numbers are relative and it still appears that Apple has a big issue, 35 times bigger apparently.

It really doesn't matter what the reception is like on the iPhone all of the lemmings will still jump of a cliff to get one just because its an iPhone. A coworker yesterday kept calling my Droid and my friends evo iPhones and I almost slapped her.

My gf works for att cancellation so i know from the source of anger. she gets at least 5 calls a day about the new iphone and constant calls about all the older models. and she even received calls about the stupid thing from people that had prior to release.

I just popped my HTC Desire in a Lead Lined Box with a led light and webcam -

Slammed the lid and the Desire signal went up from 3 bars to FOUR


The fact that you have a lead lined box, a webcam, an LED and an Eris (wait desire? did he even say anything abut a desire?) lying around to prove a point against a single comment made by steve jobs means you are lying or you have a serious problem.

I tried to make a joke about open source v closed system and inside jokes but I lost my motivation after 10 seconds. I would say that your post was funny but I had already gotten a headache from all the posts I already read and was to busy imagining all the idiots on both sides of the arguments who might take that post seriously. Sorry, I have a couple of acquaintances that all they do is rip on my macs and this I4 snafu has made them insufferable.

Just for giggles went and grabbed my wife's Eris. Completely cupped my hands around it. The result? Didn't subtract a bar. Shame jobs has to resort to lying to cover for his POS product.

I see don't think the "test" of the iPhone 4 and the other phones was relevant. "Consumer Reports Magazine" showed that with the tip of a finger would result in signal loss if placed on a certain place. The presentation was a detraction from the real problem and to skew the problem that all phones have "this problem" of signal loss by grip. "Consumer Reports Magazine" did not show a grip test that would result them not to recommend The iPhone 4. But, I have a few phones and yet I can touch them with the tip of my finger anywhere and it will not result in signal loss.

I think dragging other companies through the mud by twisting the facts is just not the way to "save face". Bad move Apple, bad move.

Funny to see the Eris get this much press. I think it's had as much exposure in the last few days as it did in it's first few months of existence.

Oh and Steve, you're such a douche. Just make a quality product and your drones won't get mad at you. Not that you give a damn.

"Who told you that you were naked?Have you eaten of the tree that I commanded you not to eat of ? And the man said ,the woman that you gave me to be with me ,she gave me of the tree and I did eat"

I think he's trying to say that Almighty Steve is realizing his followers are starting to find he's not the all powerful OZ, while he's still trying to vamp "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

Let’s face it. Every company (and carrier) has to stake it's claim. And with all claims comes challenges, lawsuits and eventual retractions.

So like most companies, and in a world of intense competition and blazing advances in technology, Apple also has to make grand claims and then live up to them. Nothing unusual here, with the exception that the either iPhone 4's hardware, the iOS4 update or some combination thereof isn't quite living up to those claims for some folks.

From my perspective, the single greatest error that Apple could've made was made when CEO Steve Jobs took the stage and proceeded to a position of deflection by trying to compare the issues being experienced by iPhone 4 early adopters to phones made by the likes of RIM, Android and others. Well, duh, of course those phone are also going to experience signal drops - we are living in the U.S. after all, and most if not all of us know pretty darn well just how laughable our wireless networks are when compared to those around the globe. So deflecting your products issues to that of the competition did little in my book to show real concern for those customers who have just ponied up $199 or more of their hard-earned cash while also signing away their soul to AT&T.

Clearly, the new iPhone has a design flaw; that is, there's a sweet spot - a visible physical break in the continuity of the steel band which gives the iPhone much of its aesthetic value. This ever so tiny break in the material forms a barrier to continuous and smooth receipt of wireless signal that is as huge as any barrier can be, and this is an understatement at best.

I don't think most of the "it" crowd who rushed out to adopt the new iPhone upon its release are genuinely interested in putting duck tape or band aids on their new phone just to overcome this design flaw. Hell, I'd be pissed to have to do that. Any phone - Apple, BlackBerry, Android, or whatever - really - any phone - that I just paid a few hundred dollars for that then required such a non-technical solution just to keep me connected to a wireless network would almost certainly be headed back to the retailer. I'm not interested in cases, bumper guards and any of the other fixes. The phone should work right out of the box - plain and simple - end of story.


"This ever so tiny break in the material forms a barrier to continuous and smooth receipt of wireless signal that is as huge as any barrier can be, and this is an understatement at best."

Are you sure you know what you are talking about?

The break (the gap) is to separate the wifi antennas from the 3G antennas. It is not a Flaw.

The flaw is that the two metal bands are exposed to skin contact.

Moist skin bridges the gap, essentially shorting out the 3G antenna to the wifi antenna.

Left untouched (or held differently) there is no problem with the gap or the antennas.

It just so happens you can hardly avoid touching this area unless the phone is in a case.

for fun -- hit your local AT&T store (one with a microcell inside for "perfect" reception) and bridge the gap on their display units with your wedding ring or a penny ;)

LOL.....I NEVER have any reception issues....I had 1 dropped call all last year using a Palm Pre W/ I have an EVO....and have not had ANY reception issues....not a single dropped call !!

Its probably a combo effect of a flawed design, and the ATT network.Its funny to sit back and read all the BS hype, Etc about!!!!!
Seems like a 'cult' !!!

My opinion on this whole thing is that it is ridiculous. Apple's only mistake is that they made the weak spot so easy for the average joe to see. EVERY PHONE HAS A WEAK SPOT. This is not a fallacy perpetrated by the evil empire it is a fact. Apple's issue is that they put the weak spot in a highly visible easily accessed area of the phone. Not because it makes it easier for the phone to drop a call but it makes it easier for a person to become an amateur engineer and poke right at the spot that can possibly cause a degraded signal and get visible results. While they are poking at the weak spot are they on the phone talking or are they too busy saying "I had 2 bars, now I have none! Damn you apple!"

This whole issue is blown beyond what it really is. Half a percent of the 3+ million iPhone 4 users called to complain about the issue. How many of those people only noticed the issue after the news bludgeoned us with it. Recall was NEVER an option and everyone (up to and including Consumer Reports) said to give out free cases. Now people complaining that apple did not recall. It is these people who should shut up (not apple as an earlier commenter said) because really all they are after is watching someone on top fall flat on their face. Steve jobs swallowed a lot to give that press conference and the bumper (or a number of other cases they will start offering) is a temporary fix only. Why people expect to be told what apple plans to do in the future is also equally ridiculous. Here you are an immediate fix AND an egotistical CEO admitting that there is a problem with the phone. TO me the issue is moot. If you want an iPhone you can get one and should the death grip concerns of Applegate arise there is a solution that will fix it instantly. There is most deffinitely a solution in the works that will prevent the need of offering bumpers for free in store, but I would not discount having a bumper included in the box. Now if all of that bothers you apple is offering a full refund so either tak it back or don't buy one. PS3 v 360 was never this annoying.

Are you nuts?

Its not that you can SEE the Gap, its that it is located exactly where you hands fall, and any touch can drop a call in marginal signal areas.

No, not nuts. I think this is my first post that has gotten a 1 star rating on this site though. I think that having the weak spot out in the open is a problem. But only because people can see it and see that when someone touches it the signal degrades. If the weak spot were inside the phone and you covered it up with your hand while holding the phone you would not know that you touched a weak spot. You would just assume that the signal was low. My incredible's signal fluctuates all the time and I don't freak out and post youtube videos of my bars. If you did not know that that band was a weak spot then you would just assume that the signal was fluctuating. And if you are in a strong coverage area you would never even notice a change in performance. So if your coverage sucks and you are left handed or a gorilla, then you have a problem with the iPhone 4. If not you are just a bored person who wants to see apple knocked down a peg.

and 0.055 percent of three million and growing at 2 per second = ... ? Is that an acceptable number of complaints for a new device?

Holy Cow! That hast to be one of the dumbest thing I have ever seen a CEO do. Apple touts the iphone as the cream of the crop, top of the line, stat of the art of cell phones. Then when they have a problem their answer is "oh well it's no worse than brands x & y". Good grief, a box of rocks can do that.

I have lost all respect for Jobs and the Apple management. I wasn't a big fan anyway but now, I would have to be desperate to buy an Apple product.

OK so .55% would be less than 2000 Iphone4's having problems and .016 would be about 50 phones if the Eris sold around 300000 but I dont know what its number was... But how many people dont report a problem somewhere around 15 to 25% right??? so there could be another 300000 not reporting a problem and then how many dont notice the problem because AT&T is just a shitty network...

The VAST OVERWHELMING majority of people don't report dropped calls. They redial and move on with their life.

Percentage is percentage. Actual numbers don't matter.
But that's not the issue here.

The issue is this problem got .55% people pissed off enough to return "The BEST Smartphone in the world" (a phrase parroted a hundred times a day over on TiPb).

Never mind reception issues - my guess is that there was a much higher percentage of Eris users who complained about the silent audio bug than complained to Apple about reception. I have an Eris, and, thankfully, no silent audio problem, but I'd rather learn to hold my phone differently and get a device with better reception than have a phone that loses audio in the middle of calls, with a restart being the only fix. I also believe that both HTC and Verizon initially denied to people calling in that this problem existed when the 2.1 update was released on May. If you read through the forums here, you'll see that there have been plenty of people who went through multiple Erises, some even upgrading to other handsets after their third or fourth.

Let's not forget the yellow screen spots or yellow camera images as well!
Here's another 'stat' for you, the iphone only drops one more call per hundred than the 3gs?

Now the 3gs 'only' drops one call per hundred anyway, so the new phone drops twice the number of calls than the one it replaces? See playing with stats to give the picture you want is toooooo easy.

The bit about this that I find really distasteful, is that supposedly, apple give amazing customer service, and get iCustomers camping out overnight to get the new product? Yet when customers start reporting this fault (and let's not forget that in real numbers, this was thousands of people) most of those who had this fault probably put it down to carrier, or - god forbid wait for the manufacturer to provide a fix rather than report it as a fault. When these thousands of customers (whom apple are supposed to love!) Reported this, they were told 'you're holding it wrong' and then are told that it's just smartphones, they all have this fault, if you don't like it, take it back!

Apples attitude stinks, and the apple is rotting, they piss off loyal customers, partners and developers. Their contempt for the (rightly or wrongly) very loyal customers who have put iphone where it is today is disgraceful, and to blame everyone else for their products shortcomings, shows how scared they are of the competition.
Bring on froyo updates and let's wipe the iFloor with these muppets!

ro1244 and youngdrake, you really don't understand the problem at all. The issue isn't the "break." The break is a necessary part of the design. The edge of the case contains TWO antennae, one for BT and one for cellular. The break between the two antennae HAS TO BE THERE to allow for the two separate antennae!

The problem isn't the break, it's when a conductive surface (like your hand) bridges the break. Then, instead of two tuned antennae, you have 1 mistuned antenna.

No other phone on the market has that problem. Yes, the position of your hand can attenuate the signal on other phones. (on my Evo I've seen a drop of about 10% to 12% in the worst case). But on no other phone can your hand completely detune the antenna so that it's no longer optimized for the frequency of the radio signal, causing the signal to drop dramatically.

I suspect the reason some people have more problems than others is due to a difference in skin conductivity. I have a harder time than most with capacitive buttons, so I suspect I'd have less problems than most with the i4.

Even worse than the problem itself, though, is Apple's response. From stonewalling, to blaming customers, to inventing new ways to hold a phone, to censoring their own customers on support forums, Apple is the new IBM, and Android is the new Apple. Free bumpers? That clever metallic band is the key element in the i4's new design, and Apple thinks the solution is to cover it up with an ugly piece of rubber? Great industrial design Steve.


Well said.

I'm totally blown away that people are ignorant of what the real problem is given the extent of the coverage of this issue.

Of course Uncle Steve isn't helping when he pretends its a cupping issue or a death grip issue, and totally ignores the fact that a single finger tip can short the gap out on a warm day.

No I know why the break is there and that the problem stems from bridging the gap between 2 antenas. I just think that the problem has been blown out of proportions do to the ease of which a person can identify that that is why their signal is dropping.

I like how he's basing this on "People calling in"
about a problem that causes "no signal".

Only 0.55 percent because the rest can't get a strong enough signal to call!

Ok, times means multiply... so...

Lessee, now 35 times .55 = 19.25, ah, no, that's not right

mebby 35 times (.55 minus .016) = 18.69, nope, not that either...

PEOPLE, there is no such thing as "Times Less".

Mindless drivel, attempting to justify fuzzy thinking by claiming some famous person let slip an abomination of speech sometime in the distant past.

Eris owner here. No issues at all with reception. I travel quite a lot, and get good reception wherever there are towers. Dropped calls are a non-issue.

Not sure at all what Jobs is referring to. Don't really care, either.

The Eris is a FINE device...never did get the kudos it deserved, being in the shadow of Moto Droid and then the Incredible. HTC can be proud of it's Droid line-up.

While I love Android and own an EVO (which I adore), you have to keep in mind that just because HTC has a lower PERCENTAGE of complaints about reception / dropped calls, this could just mean that there are tremendously more complaints about other issues, resulting in a lower percentage for reception.

For example, if Apple has 10 complaints per 100, and HTC has 20 complaints per 100, this completely alters any percentages. Without knowing this vital "we get X complaints per Y number of phones", these numbers may be completely deceiving, and in reality, mean very little.

HTC was talking about dropped calls per hundred as was Apple.

The discussion was precisely focused on the problem at hand.

Why do you feel that any purpose would be served by changing the scope of the discussion to include other problems?

That is just another form of deflection and obfuscation.

Actually, they don't specifically state that. Without the specificiations about how they measure the numbers, we don't really know. That's my point.

And I'm not trying to "deflect" or "obfuscate". I don't even like Apple products. I'm just looking at it from a mathmatical standpoint.