Reminds me of Moto doing that w/some of the Razors. The Zio doesn't have that problem nor to many other brands. Speaker is at the top where is should be! Come'on Samsung...
Most phones put it on the side, bottom, or back as a safety feature, so you don't blow out your eardrum holding it up to your ear when you don't realize it's in speakerphone mode.
I'm surprised to hear you talk about you holding it in your hand. Most people don't use speakerphone while holding the phone. In fact, many phones refer to speakerphone as "hands-free" mode, specifically because it's designed for when your hands are not free. If your hands are free, why use speakerphone? Why not hold it to your ear?
If the speaker's on the back, the question is whether setting it on a table blocks the sound. On most good phones, there's a special bump, etc. to raise the back ...
See my comments in my original message about the HTC TP2. At least they were smart enough to put a second mic on the back so you could turn the phone completely over and talk on it.
Seems like Samsung is only vendor that went back to putting the speakerphone on the bottom- very strange.
Like I said, most phones have some design feature that holds the phone up off a flat surface so the speakerphone isn't blocked when you set it on a desk, etc. It's usually something extremely small like a speck-sized bump or ridge. Even just a half a mm gap is enough to effectively let the sound through.