UPDATED 11:45 EST / JUNE 26 2012

The Best of Faulty Gadgets: Is Your Smartphone On the List?

Hearing about the latest faulty phone, the self-combusting Galaxy SIII, made me think about how hazardous technology is for us.  This isn’t the first time a gadget’s exploded.  Some even caused serious injuries and fatalities.

So let’s take a trip down memory lane to recall some of technology’s darkest hours.

Faulty gadgets


This segment includes faulty laptops, mobile phones, tablets and other electronic devices.


Aside from the self-combusting Galaxy SIII, European consumers who were able to get their hands on the Pebble Blue version of the device reported noticing a white substance that looked like it was splashed on the device.  People are now thinking that this may be the reason that there’s a 2-3 week wait for the Pebble BLue version in the US.


Though fanboys think they have the last laugh after the melting Galaxy SIII, they shouldn’t.  If you recall, last year an iPhone 4 also self-combusted on a plane, mid-flight.  And the iPhone 4 was badly damaged compared to the Galaxy SIII.  Not long after the plane incident, another iPhone 4 was reported to have self-combusted, this time while being charged.  Aside from that, iPhones and iPads are plagued with issues, such as poor battery performance, a yellow screen because of the glue, and more, upon release.  Remember Yellowgate?  Batterygate?  WiFigate? How about Heatgate?


The NVIDIA Tegra-3 quad-core tablets Iconia Tab A510/A511
is no longer being sold/shipped due to faulty hardware that causes freezing in the devices.


The Taiwanese company acknowledged that their Tegra 3-powered HTC One X is having WiFi issues due to a loose connection between the device and its WiFi antenna.  HTC tried to resolve the issue over a software update but later found out that the defect was physical in nature when they squeezed the device and saw that signal indicator lit up.  HTC declined to name how many devices were affected, stating that there are only isolated reports of the WiFi problem.


Back in 2010, a man reported that his Motorola Droid 2 exploded in his ear and caused bleeding.  Though some are doubtful of the incident, Aron Embry, the man who reported the incident, stated that he was using the phone when he heard a pop, then when he removed the phone from his ear, he felt something oozing out and found out that it was blood.  That’s when he checked his phone and saw that the screen burst outwards.


In February, a man was hospitalized when the electronic cigarette he was using exploded in his mouth, leaving him with severe burns, missing front teeth and a chunk of his tongue.  The man was allegedly trying to quit smoking and opted for the electronic version hoping to have a healthier lifestyle.  Little did he know that the switch could’ve cost him his life.

Faulty cars



Back in May, it was reported that a parked Chevrolet Volt burst into flames three weeks after a side-impact crash test.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, General Motors, and LG Chem, South Korea’s biggest chemical maker and supplier of Volt batteries, worked together in investigating the incident.  They tried replicating the incident, which allegedly caused the fire but their efforts were in vain.


The NHTSA’s investigation into 1.4 million Toyota vehicles for door fires sparked by power window switches were expanded and upgraded.  They’ve added 600,000 Toyota Camrys and other vehicles to their investigation, which started in February involving 161 incidents and 9 injuries and thankfully no fatalities.  The investigation now covers 2007-09 Camry, Camry hybrid, RAV4, Yaris and all Highlander hybrid vehicles which were built between September 2006 and August 2008.


Honda Motor Co. is conducting a safety recall of certain 2012 Honda Civic sedan regarding a potentially faulty drive shaft.  The driver’s side driveshaft may have been improperly assembled which could result into separation from a joint, while the car is running, that could lead to the engine no longer propelling the vehicle in any gear.  It may also result in a car rolling away while parked if the parking brake did not engage because of the faulty driveshaft.  A total of 50,000 units were recalled in the US.


Ford is recalling 128 2013 Lincoln MKTs and Town Cars with the limousine or hearse preparation package because of the risk of wheel separation due to the rear brake rotor bolts that were not fully seated allowing the head to protrude above the wheel mounting surface.  If not addressed,  it could lead to torque loss in the wheel joint, potentially leading to wheel separation, increasing the risk of a crash.


Kia announced two recalls earlier this month.  The first one involved the 2006 through 2008 Rio subcompacts due to the front passenger airbags that might deploy when they shouldn’t.  The second one involves the Borrego SUVs with fragile brake pedal mounts.
These are just some of the faulty gadgets/technologies that we have today.  Technology is supposed to make our lives easier, not take our lives or cause injuries.  As more gadgets and gizmos become available, the risk of using them, hopefully, would not increase as well.

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