A financial analyst believes Apple's iPhone 3G reception issues may be the result of some faulty chips.
Richard Windsor of Nomura published a research note (spotted at GigaOm) Tuesday singling out the iPhone 3G's chipset, made by Infineon, as the probable culprit for the reception problems . The dropped calls, service interruptions, and abrupt network switches experienced by iPhone 3G users reminded Windsor of similar complaints five years ago, when 3G phones were first launched in Europe.
"We believe that these issues are typical of an immature chipset and radio protocol stack where we are almost certain that Infineon is the 3G supplier," Windsor wrote. "This is not surprising as the Infineon 3G chipset solution has never really been tested in the hands of users. Some people will not experience these problems as it is only in areas where the radio signal weakens that the immaturity of the stack really shows."
The problem for Apple is that if Windsor's theory is correct, that would mean a firmware upgrade is unlikely to solve the problems, he wrote. The problems might be confined to a certain build of iPhones, or a certain batch of chips, but "this shows the risk of not going with a tried and tested solution."
An Infineon spokesman declined to comment on anything iPhone related, but said he would check into whether the particular chipset used in the iPhone 3G had been used in other phones. Apple has refused to acknowledge any issues with the iPhone 3G.