So, Just What Is The Smart Phone Grip Of Death
After the launch of the iPhone 4 in June 2010, many of its’ users became savvy to the occurrence in the electronics world known as the “Smart Phone grip of death”.
This phrase refers to a phenomenon that happens when the phone user simply holds their phone in such a manner that it in turn causes a dramatic drop in signal strength, ironic since the original concept of a cell phone was to allow the user to carry a portable communication device with them wherever they wanted to go.
Since this causes a major hiccup in the design and purpose of the smartphone, how can one avoid falling victim to this flaw? The first way to beat the grip of death is to understand exactly what it is.
What exactly causes the Smart Phone grip of death?
Before getting into the details of what the Smart phone grip of death actually is, it is important to note that even though the problem was outlined widely by the launch of the iPhone 4, any Smart phone that has an antenna located in a similar location to the Apple product is at risk.
The issue begins when the phone user’s thumb obstructs the antenna located typically on the lower portion of the phone. When this action takes place, the thumb disrupts the electrical field of the antenna, thus impairing the clear ability to send and receive signals. The main reason for this is that flesh is conductive and even more so when the skin is moist or oily.
The issue has become so well known among the smart phone community that certain operating systems, Blackberry for example, have actually created apps aptly titled something similar to “Death Grip Meter” which is, in all actuality, an app that measures your antenna signal strength.
What can be done to prevent a loss of signal?
One of the first things that Apple did to resolve the iPhone issue was to provide a “bumper case” that was allegedly a way to reduce the friction between the antenna and the phone user’s skin.
The idea was that by placing a barrier between the metal casing and the user’s thumb, the electrical field would not be disrupted. These bumper cases were originally released shortly after the problem came to Apple’s attention, at which time they offered them for free to those who had purchased the iPhone 4.
With the release of the iPhone 4 on the Verizon market, Apple made a few tweaks to avoid any further issues. First, they modified the antenna and shuffled the antenna notches. Instead of the usual 3 notches, two on the bottom corners and one up top by the headphone jack, there are now a total of 4, the new one being on the upper left corner. Another modification that has been made is that there is no longer a MicroSIM card slot built into the antenna.
Perhaps a more simple way to avoid the death grip is to simply be conscious of how the phone is held. Most problems occur when the user holds the phone with their left hand, placing his/her thumb towards the bottom left corner of the phone. Some people may find it easier to simply switch hands; others may not find this to be all that comfortable.
As a reminder, even though the publicity for the smart phone grip of death centered primarily on the iPhone 4, it is important to keep in mind that any phone created with a similar design could be prone to this problem. The best defense against the grip of death is research!