Hot topics in the tech blogs for the week ending January 14 include a Verizon-compatible iPhone, the release of iOS 4.3 beta, pictures and information about three new BlackBerry handsets are leaked, rumors about a Verizon-compatible iPad and the release of Google Places with Hotpot for the iPhone.

Apple Verizon iPhone
After months and years of rumors about the iPhone coming to American network carrier Verizon, the company finally announced consumers in the US would be able to purchase a CDMA-compatible iPhone from the carrier in February. Bloggers were also excited by the Verizon iPhone 4's hotspot feature.

Apple iOS 4.3 beta
Apple released the iOS 4.3 beta and developers and journalists went hunting for new features. The addition of four and five finger gestures to switch between applications in the new OS (and a BGR post containing "exclusive" information from an Apple source) had bloggers wondering if Apple would remove the home button on the next versions of the iPad and iPhone. Bloggers also asked "Is Apple Building A Mobile Social Network?" after discovering a "Find My Friends" feature.

BlackBerry handset leaks
Technology blog Boy Genius Report (BGR) got its hands on leaked pictures and specs of three new BlackBerry devices; the Dakota, the Torch 2 and the next generation Curve aka "Apollo." Bloggers questioned if the flagship device, the BlackBerry Dakota - even with features that are "head and shoulders above all other BlackBerry specs" - were enough to excite technologists and technology-savvy consumers.

Verizon Apple iPad
With a Verizon iPhone in the works, bloggers immediately speculated about the possibility of a CDMA-compatible 3G iPad. According to Bloomberg, Verizon's CFO confirmed the arrival of a 3G iPad on Verizon during an interview, although there was no mention of price or release date.

Google Places with Hotpot for iPhone
Google released Places with Hotpot for iPhone, bringing personalized local place recommendations in Google Maps to iPhone users. Google Places lets you quickly search for places nearby you (and provides results based on places you've rated in the past), and makes it easy to rate a venue while you are there.