Don’t get a grip, Apple!
I’m holding off on purchasing the iPhone 4. Every smartphone is susceptible to the “grip of death,” but Apple’s external antenna seems to exacerbate signal loss. Its designers pushed the boundaries of industrial design, and Apple engineers came up with flawed design.

While it is still the best smartphone on the market, I’d rather wait and see what long-term solution Apple devises before shelling out US$300 to AT&T and being stuck in a two-year contract. Nobody that I know directly has experienced the issue, but I cannot discount what appears to be a genuine problem.    — David Worthington

Tablet war was beginning…
Tablet or slate devices are a hot-button topic this year. After Apple launched its iPad in April (and proved there is certainly a market for these devices), other software makers are trying to create something to compete. In the beginning of July, LG announced its plans to launch an Android tablet by the end of the year, while HP, which already has experience developing tablet devices, recently purchased Palm, a company with a strong operating system, webOS.

Microsoft is not to be forgotten, either. At a recent annual partner conference in Washington, D.C., the company boasted about new tablet-style devices running its Windows 7 operating system.

Which one will prove the best contender? We can only guess.    — Katie Serignese

Take a trip to SoftCity
In the last issue of SD Times, I wrote about an iPhone app that was a horrible idea: the mobile vuvuzela, that obnoxious horn made famous at the World Cup football (soccer) matches in South Africa. Now, I’ll give credit to an iPhone app that I believe is truly valuable: mobile access to SoftCity’s Café.

That website, the company claims, is the first social commerce site dedicated to software. With the iPhone app, users can follow software discussion threads, get software recommendations from experts, and in certain cases even speak directly with the developers who have written applications, to question them directly about features or functionality.

It’s available immediately and can be downloaded for free from the iPhone App Store.     — David Rubinstein

Is GoogleVille the future?
Google has pumped more than US$100 million into Zynga, the company behind the bafflingly popular FarmVille and FrontierVille “games.” Speculation is now centered on Google’s aspirations at competing with Facebook now that Google has its own game division that mirrors Facebook’s.

According to A.J. Patrick Liskiewicz, a writer for Media Commons, FarmVille’s real popularity comes from the social obligations it creates between players, making it more a chore than a game. Is this how Google plans to spur user adoption, by having users peer-pressure each other? I’m tempted to say that that’s not a good business model, but I can’t be sure.    — Adam LoBelia