Apple blinks, Android diversifies

Under mounting criticism for antenna issues on its iPhone 4 flagship, Apple is holding a press conference to discuss the problem and possible solutions on Friday. Meanwhile, new Android models continue to chip away at the iPhone's market share.

After a few false starts, Apple appears finally ready to admit there is a problem with the iPhone 4 antenna and do something about it. The company will host a press conference on Friday to discuss the issue. There has been speculation of a recall, but I expect they'll downplay the problem and announce free bumper cases to anyone who needs them.

Updated: Yep, that's what happened.

The video from Consumer Reports was the final straw. Not only did CR refuse to recommend the iPhone 4 until Apple fixed the "death grip" reception flaw, they humorously suggested a fix of their own: duct tape.

"By using non-conductive tape, like duct tape," reported CR's Mike Gikas Monday, "and covering the gap on the side of the iPhone, we were able to reduce the reception problems. However, it does spoil the look, don't you think?" In an update posted Thursday, CR has verified that the Apple bumper case alleviates the signal-loss problem in a somewhat more aesthetically pleasing fashion.

Meanwhile, cell phone makers continue to churn out new Android devices at a breakneck pace. Two go on sale today alone: the Verizon Droid X by Motorola, and the T-Mobile Vibrant by Samsung.

The wide variety of Android phones emphasizes the main difference between iOS and Android: Android is available from multiple vendors. If you don't like the limitations of one phone, choose another. That's one disadvantage Apple can't tape over.

Image credit: ConsumerReports.org