Are design flaws plaguing the iPhone 3G?

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There have been a flurry of news reports recently about the iPhone 3G and its purported issues with 3G data connectivity. Specifically, people are unhappy with how slowly the iPhone downloads data over AT&T's wireless network. Some say the phone frequently switches from the faster UMTS/HSDPA network to the EDGE network without warning or drops the data signal entirely. 

It's not clear why the data connectivity problems are occurring (if, in fact, they are). Some blame the chip set, other's blame AT&T's network. One well-regarded technical magazine, Sweden's Ny Teknik, says that tests conducted on the 3G iPhone show that its sensitivity to 3G network signals is below the level specified by the 3G standard. In other words, the adjustment between the amplifier and the antenna is defective and that's causing the amplifier in the phone to capture very weak signals from the antenna and that leads to poor 3G connectivity.

AT&T and Apple have both denied any problems with the phone. But that hasn't stopped the word from spreading--thanks, in part, to AT&T competitors (read: Verizon) that would like nothing more than the iPhone 3G to fail in the market. I suspect the negative press may soon have an impact on iPhone 3G sales, particularly if the connectivity issues persist without any explanation or remedy. If there really is a problem with the iPhone 3G and data connectivity, AT&T and Apple need to step up and address the problem before this turns into a customer relations disaster. --Sue

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