Motorola's ruggedized DEFY (which our own Brad Ganley reviewed) is a pretty cool phone. In my book, any time you can stick a gadget in a glass of water (or beer, as the case may be) with absolutely zero negative repercussions, I'm interested. The DEFY is no poser - Motorola's made the first industrial-strength Android.
Unfortunately, a substantial number of users across the globe are reporting a fatal flaw with the device, and surprisingly it's not MOTOBLUR-related. The earpiece speaker, which is necessary to actually hear the person you're talking to, is failing on DEFY devices that are only weeks old. Brad didn't experience this problem with his review device over the course of a couple weeks, but presumably he wasn't using it quite as much as the average person who owns one might.
What's the source? Motorola is investigating. However, a number of commenters have pieced together what they think is a likely explanation. The headphone jack on the DEFY sits very close to the earpiece speaker. So close, in fact, that it's possible regular use of the jack may be pushing the contacts onto a weld or other conductive surface, creating a circuit to the earpiece speaker and causing a short.
Another commenter stated that if he squeezed the top of his broken device, the speaker would intermittently function - suggesting that maybe use of the headphone jack was physically dislodging a connection to the earpiece speaker.
This is all speculation, of course. But no other ideas (well, firmware) have emerged, and users have reported the problem goes away when the device is repaired or replaced, unless the new or fixed device develops the problem again (as some have claimed). We'll keep you informed - and let you know when Motorola makes an official statement on the matter.