An 18-year old girl has died from using a mobile phone in Kheriakani, India after charging the device while talking on it. The explosion rendered Ms. Uma Oram unconscious and caused injuries to her hand, leg, and chest, ultimately resulting in her death upon arrival at a local hospital. According to the victim's brother, the phone was believed to be a Nokia 3310, however, it apparently resembles a Nokia 5233. Nokia, meanwhile, denied that the device was an original product manufactured by the company which would suggest that a copy or clone was being used, perhaps inadvertently at that.
Exploding batteries are unfortunately a very real risk, as companies like Samsung knows all too well, and no matter how carefully a product is produced, customers need to be aware of behaviors that can increase that risk. For starters, charging a mobile device while actively using it – especially during periods where the device becomes physically hot – is a major no-no. The heat generated internally, coupled with the infusion of electricity from a secondary source – i.e. the AC power – can be a recipe for disaster. Likewise, those who sleep with phones under their pillows should avoid doing such at all costs as this too increases heat and may cause the battery to explode.
As mobile devices have become more prevalent in everyday lives, it is important that parents educate their children on how to use them, and that companies, too, educate customers. While it might be easy to dismiss this story as a result of potentially a "fake product with an unsafe battery", the fact that the unfortunate victim wasn't apparently aware of the danger of charging a phone while talking on it is a problem in and of itself. Looking at the larger issue of illegitimate products as a whole, however, it really is imperative for consumer safety that users do not install third-party batteries or unlicensed use hardware or chargers with their devices. Just because something works does not necessarily mean it's safe, and just because something is safe does not necessarily mean it will remain so, regardless of usage.