This recently happened to a 13-year-old North Texas girl’s Samsung Galaxy S4. After a heavy day of use, the girl plugged in her phone to charge it for the night while she slept–a habit that many of us do. Instinctively, she fell asleep with the charging phone resting on her pillow–also a familiar habit for most of us. She later awoke to the smell of something burning and discovered that her phone had turned into a melted mess. FOX 4 has the story:
Moral of the story: don’t charge your device beneath bed sheets or any other place that restricts airflow. Otherwise, kablooey. To be fair, Samsung made it clear on page umpteen of their instruction manual not to charge the phone in a place like, say, underneath the covers where airflow is restricted. But how many of us take the time to read the fine print for every gadget that we buy, and is this a reasonable expectation manufacturers have for users when they’re used to carrying and even charging their phones in their cloth carry-on bags and pockets?
It’s likely that you haven’t experienced an incident such as this, but every so often you will come across a story of this nature on the Internet. A reddit user recently posted that their Galaxy S4 fried while charging, and you may remember from just a few years ago hearing about users having their iPhone 4 “pop,” “sizzle,” and catch on fire.
These problems focus primarily on batteries, but, as reported by ZDNet.com, overheating problems are sure to continue as the performance limits of SSD drives are being pushed. ZDNet.com cites a study by Usenix HotStorage called, Power, Engery and Themal Condisderation in SSD-Based I/O Acceleration, where they “examined high-end SSDs, those with multiple channels, cores and flash chips.” It was discovered that high-performance SSDs exhibit these four characteristics:
- High power. 2-7x the power, 282% higher for reads, up to 18w total.
- High temperatures. 150-210% higher than conventional SSDs, up to 182F.
- Performance throttling. At 180F the many-resource SSD throttles performance by 16%, equivalent to hitting the write cliff.
- Large write penalty. Writes at 64KB and above in aged devices caused the highest temperatures, likely due to extra garbage collection and wear leveling overhead.
Statistically, you have a pretty slim chance of your smartphone exploding in your pocket. However, it’s good to keep risks like these in mind for the sake of both your device’s performance and the safety of teenagers around the world.
Have you noticed your device running a little too hot for comfort? Tell us your hot story in the comments!