It’s not all that unusual to fall asleep with your smartphone under your pillow: they make fine alarm clocks, and can hold so much important information that you don’t want it out of your reach, even while unconscious. Yet a Samsung smartphone woke up a 13-year-old girl near Dallas in the middle of the night when it began smoldering.
Like many teens, the 13-year-old really likes her smartphone. “It’s really, like, nice and pretty. It’s high tech,” she told TV station KDFW. She’s glued to the device all day, and says that it somehow slipped under her pillow one night as she slept with it at her side.
However, the phone didn’t have all of its original parts. Its battery had been replaced with a third-party part. The girl’s father told reporters that he had no idea that replacing the battery with a non-Samsung part was a bad idea. “We have a reasonable expectation that the products we buy are going to be safe,” he said. If there’s a risk that using a third-party battery could lead to your kid’s bed catching fire, he noted, there should be a great big warning like the Surgeon General’s warning on the outside of a cigarette package.
Actually, why not take it a step further? In some countries, like Australia, cigarette packs have gruesome or depressing photos of people suffering from smoking-related illnesses. Maybe Samsung could put pictures of the Galaxy battery fire on each phone’s battery cover.
Nah, consumers would probably ignore that warning, too, assuming it was only a ploy for Samsung to sell more batteries.
Samsung has promised to replace the phone and burned bedding, even though a spokesperson pointed out that the phone’s documentation clearly says not to use other companies’ batteries, since the company can’t guarantee compatibility and lack of fires.