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Can Anyone Make A Handheld Anymore?

Either handheld device customers have become the biggest bunch of whiners in history, or there's something seriously wrong with overly-hyped products coming out of Silicon Valley.

My colleague Erik Sherman has reported about Apple's new iPhone 3G S overheating so much that some customers are reportedly afraid of putting it next to their ears.

Overheating has been causing a number of white cases to discolor, even after the short time people have had them.
So your brand new white iPhone has turned dirt brown, and it might explode in your hand... big deal. Erik notes this isn't even a new problem for Apple.

That said, Apple isn't the only culprit; the much-ballyhooed Palm Pre is also reported to have serious manufacturing defects, including a faulty keyboard slide, and a screen that cracks and twists easily. Online forums may well be overrun by over-zealous iPhone fans or even paid public relation hacks, but there's a lot of smoke for this to be nothing but competitive FUD. And as blogger Dieter Bohn notes (and Bohn is presumably not an Apple Fanboi), Palm has been dogged by quality control issues for much of its history.

If the complaints about the iPhone 3G S are true, Apple certainly has enough good will in the bank to overcome a few hiccups, especially as its customers are driven as much by apps available in its iTunes App Store as by its physical virtues (they love it for its brains, not its body!). But Palm is on its last legs here, and can't afford a repeat of past failures. And as devices begin to compete for the combined consumer and enterprise buck, they had better pass muster with IT departments as well as handset enthusiasts.

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