It happens every year or so. A cell phone "explodes" or catches fire—or somebody with ulterior motives says it did. The media then goes crazy with fear stories about how your seemingly harmless mobile phone could be a ticking time bomb.
This time around, a BlackBerry Curve 9320 smartphone exploded during the night and set 11-year-old Kian McCreath's bed on fire, leaving him with charred bedding and melted plastic on his legs, according to CoventryTelegraph.com. McCreath's parents are enraged, and they're calling for a Research In Motion (RIM) recall.
But that's ridiculous: RIM has sold a ton of BlackBerry Curve 9320 devices. (Maybe not as many as it would like, but still quite a few.) And there's only been a single report of an exploding Curve. That's hardly grounds for a recall. I certainly understand the McCreaths' anger; I'd be pissed off too if a cell phone, or any product, exploded and burned me, my family or my property.
But a bum battery is likely the culprit here, not the BlackBerry itself. A quick Google search for "exploding cell phone" yields results that show iPhones, Droids and other phones have exploded in recent years, injuring their owners. In a few cases, people were killed by exploding cell phones. Cell phones sometimes explode. Unfortunately, it happens. It usually happens while cell phones are plugged into a power source.
RIM should most definitely do everything it can to get to the bottom of the issue, and it says it's looking into it. But thankfully Kian McCreath wasn't seriously injured, and there's no reason to be scared of your cell phone now or, if you're a blogger, to post poorly-written stories with bad jokes knocking RIM and BlackBerry. (I'm looking at you, Gizmodo U.K.)
Then again, exaggerated headlines like the one on this post can be page-view gold, and that's what counts, right? Right?