Possible solution for several iPhone 3G/2.0.1/2.0.2 issues
I had several issues with my iPhone 3G but here's a possible solution.
1. In iTunes, leave the Sync Applications checked, but UNCHECK all individual applications. This will delete the apps from your iPhone, which may take a bit of time depending on the number of apps installed. It is important to get back to only a "stock" load.
2. Once that process is complete, unmount your iPhone (eject it from within iTunes and disconnect the syncing cable). Once completed, mount your iPhone again (connect the syncing cable) and get an initial "stock" backup, which should take between 1 and 2 minutes (but probably the former).
3. Now that your iPhone has its initial "stock" backup (ie., no 3rd party apps), add those apps still available in the App Store (I wouldn't add NetShare at this time, for example) and repeat step 2. This initial "fully loaded" backup will take a bit of time, once again depending on the number of apps now installed. For example, my initial "fully loaded" backup took right around 20 minutes (I currently have 47 apps loaded).
4. Once this backup has been completed, repeat step 2 once again and your backup should be between 1 and 2 minutes only. I'm not sure, but this seems to be an incremental backup only.
In other words, you will perform a total of three backups - once after all apps have been deleted, once again after the apps have been re-installed, and finally once again for incremental purposes. In other words, it appears that once the backup performed in step 3 has been completed, each subsequent backup in an incremental backup, vice the full backups we've all been experiencing.
Apparently some corruption occurs with either the 2.0.1 firmware or iTunes 7.7.1 - I'm not sure, but in addition to the long backup times, I also suffered deletion of all iPod content (audio and video) and the ability to run any 3rd party applications (including Apple's Remote app). My only solution, previously, had been to restore my iPhone as a new phone and literally start all over again. After doing quite a bit of troubleshooting and some internet research, I came across the the solution detailed above. It solved all of my issues as well as battery life. In other words, I've also seen much better battery life than before. I'm currently charging my iPhone to 100% now, in order to conduct yet another battery life test and will post screenshots later.
I have noticed my iPhone drop from 3G to EDGE in one particular spot here on Oahu, but that may just be AT&T's coverage. I'll be able to check out my 3G coverage in that area tomorrow (on my way to work), but as I mentioned earlier, this is solved ALL of my issues (at least thus far), so life is good once again