As if things weren’t bad enough for BlackBerry maker Research In Motion. After years of shrinking market share, frustrating delays to its BlackBerry 10 phone, at least two major outages in the past 18 months, and pronouncements of its untimely demise, now RIM is dealing with exploding phones.
The family of Kian McCreath, an 11-year-old resident of Coventry, England, says Kian’s BlackBerry Curve 9320 exploded, leaving the boy with permanent scarring.
According to multiple news reports, Kian’s mom noticed her son’s BlackBerry charging on a staircase landing in the middle of the night, and moved the phone over to Kian’s bed. A short while later, Kian woke up screaming, with his bed on fire, his family said.
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"Kian has burns to his lower legs where it exploded. It’s left [him] mentally scarred. Kian won’t even go back into his bedroom," father Pete McCreath sid, as quoted at the Daily Mail. He said Kian could have easily been killed in the incident.
The McCreaths are calling on RIM to recall the phone. A spokesperson for RIM told the Daily Mirror the Waterloo, Ontario-based company is investigating the incident.
“We take claims of this nature very seriously,” the spokesperson said. “We are investigating this matter as a priority.”
Exploding cellphones do happen, and the explosions are not limited to BlackBerrys. News reports have captured incidents of phones catching fire or exploding if they’ve been left charging too long.
A year earlier, a store employee in Guangzhou, China, bled to death after a Nokia cellphone exploded in his pocket.
“The culprit in the vast majority of gadget explosions is the lithium-ion battery — marvels of electrical engineering that allow bright touchscreen phones and laptops to run for hours between charges,” reports Popular Mechanics. “Of course, packing all that power into such a tiny package can have its downsides.”