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Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 04:55 am PT (07:55 am ET)

Law firm exploring class action suit over iPhone 4 reception issues

A California law firm has asked iPhone 4 customers to share their experiences with reception on Apple's new handset, laying the groundwork for a potential class-action lawsuit.

Kershaw, Cutter & Ratinoff LLP posted word of a new "consumer investigation" on its website this week. The firm has asked iPhone 4 owners with reception issues to speak with them.

"KCR is currently investigating potential problems with the release of iPhone 4," the law firm, dubbed "injury attorneys on their website, wrote. "If you recently purchased the new iPhone and have experienced poor reception quality, dropped calls and weak signals, we would like to hear from you. Please call us toll free at (888) 285-3333, click "live chat" above to immediately speak with a KCR representative, or email us for more details."

The same law firm also filed a suit last November against Facebook for what it has argued are misleading advertisements found in games like Mafia Wars and FarmVille from Zynga. That federal class-action suit was filed in a district court in Northern California, and alleges that some ads found in the online games trick customers into signing up for recurring text messages with monthly fees, or mail-order products tied to a subscription.

Reports that Apple's latest handset can lose reception when gripped wit the left hand began to gain traction last week. On some devices, covering or even just touching the point on the metal perimeter antennas meet on the bottom left corner of the phone can cause loss of signal and even dropped calls.

When Apple announced the iPhone 4 earlier this month, the company revealed that the metal band around the outside of the device has breaks in it to allow the multiple antennas inside the device — for cellular service, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and more — to establish connections. The larger metal piece on the right side of the phone serves as the GSM/UMTS cellular antenna, and the smaller portion on the left side is responsible for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS.

Apple publicly responded to reports and said that any mobile phone has reception issues when held improperly. The company suggested that customers avoid gripping the handset in the lower left corner, or use "one of many available cases" to prevent one's skin from touching the metal band.

This week, rival handset maker Nokia even attempted to poke fun at the publicity over iPhone 4 reception, asking customers to share how they hold their Nokia. But evidence of Nokia's own reception issues when some handsets are held has also surfaced, demonstrating the issue lies in many phones beyond the iPhone 4.