Good ol’ smartphones. They’re the pinnacle of modern technology, and the so called death of physical socialization. Despite all of the technological benefits of smartphones, there are always cons that people just love to bring up: they disconnect you from interaction with the real world; they distract you from constructive work; they promote cyberbullying etc. Oh, and some of them can burn down your house. Nifty.
Earlier this week, Ariel Tolfree, a 13 year old Texas girl, awoke to the scent of burning fabric after leaving her Samsung Galaxy S4 to charge on her bed. The phone slipped under her pillow at night while it was charging. As a result, her S4 had melted past the point of recognition and burned a hole right through her pillow. Luckily, the teen was left unharmed and there were no other major damages. It is suspected that the phone overheated which caused the battery to swell, starting a small fire in the process.
Think about that next time you text your boyfriend/girlfriend right before bedtime.
So what could have caused this? Well for starters, leaving your phone to charge under any fabric is a bad idea (I own a Samsung Galaxy S3 and I assure you, it gets pretty hot when it’s charging) but it’s quite unlikely that it could lead to a fire, especially considering that Samsung is a renowned company that does not skimp on safety when it comes to their products. So again, what happened?
The answer is simple: the devil has returned to earth and is trying to claim souls for the underworld by means of smartphone.
Ariel’s phone ignited because she was using a cheap third-party replacement battery. Cheap phone accessories are infamous for leading to the destruction of smartphones across all brands (that’s right Iphone fans, you’re not quite out of the woods). These third-party accessories include replacement batteries, chargers and screens. They are typically made of cheaper materials and are not tested as rigorously as their official counterparts, leaving them prone to malfunction. As you could imagine, there have been countless reports of tragedies caused by knockoff smartphone accessories throughout the years. Some of the most notable incidents include a Samsung Galaxy S3 exploding in a Swedish woman’s pocket (caused by a cheap replacement battery) and a Chinese woman getting electrocuted and killed while answering her Iphone while it was charging (caused by a knockoff charger).
Since the destruction of Ariel’s smartphone was caused by a third-party battery, Samsung does not take full responsibility for the incident and insists that their products are safe. However, being the nice guys that they are, Samsung is replacing all of Ariel’s bedding and her S4.
It’s interesting to note that in all of Samsung’s smartphone user guides, they explicitly warn against covering their devices with fabric or thick clothing as it poses a risk of possible fire or explosion due to restricted airflow. This would make it seem that most people who own Samsung smartphones are at risk of getting their pants and other personal belongings burnt to a crisp, since most people normal carry their phones in their pockets, purses and backpacks…Oh well, what fun is life if you don’t live it on the edge right?
Another interesting thing to know is that there have been a few rare cases where Samsung products have malfunctioned even without the use of knockoff accessories. Perhaps the most notable case of this is an incident where a Samsung Galaxy S4 is said to be responsible for burning down the house of couple in Hong Kong last year. The S4 only had stock parts installed and was used with a stock charger. According to the husband, the smartphone did not ignite while charging, but rather when he was playing a game on it.
So the moral of the story is: don’t trust smartphones. Okay maybe that’s a tad bit dramatic, but seriously, don’t be dumb with your smartphones. When it comes to replacement parts, do not cheap-out on knockoffs, always go with the more expensive brand name accessories no matter how much it may twist your arm. It may cost you a bit of your thigh-flesh or even your house if you don’t, but hey, who doesn’t like a good daily game of smartphone Russian Roulette?