If you're tired of dropped calls and dead zones, and pondering the merits of turning in your iPhone for a DROID... hold on there, champ. AppleInsider says it's received a copy of a report by OTR Global, claiming that Apple has signed contracts to produce a UMTS / CDMA hybrid iPhone to be released in the third quarter of 2010.
The hybrid handset, built around a dual-system chip from Qualcomm, would allow the iPhone to run on virtually any GSM/UTMS cellular network worldwide -- and also on the CDMA2000 networks of US carriers like Verizon and Sprint. In particular, Verizon is cited in the report as the target carrier for the new devices.
The report states that Foxconn, the Taiwan-based sole-source provider of iPhone hardware at this time, will not build the new device. Instead, a subsidiary of Asustek known as Pegatron has been selected to kick off manufacturing. It's also rumored that the hybrid device uses a 2.8" screen, making the handset smaller than the current model which uses a 3.5" display.
Photos of the smaller display were first featured on iLounge in June of 2008 (see photo at right), sparking widespread rumors at the time that an "iPhone nano" was on the way. Over a year later, neither the smaller iPhone nor a Verizon model are available. However, if the leaked report is any indication, 2010 could be yet another year of incredible growth for the iPhone economy.