The release of the Nexus 7 set the tech world on fire (figuratively) when it showed us all how powerful and joyous a smaller tablet could be. However, for a user on China’s Google equivalent, Baidu, the fire was started in a much more literal sense.
The user posted the above photo to Baidu, showing a Nexus 7 after a tragic meltdown. Apparently the device began smoking while charging using the official connector and ended up filling the entire room with thick, black smoke. The device had only been charging for a total of three hours. Not surprisingly, the internals as well as the shell were completely ruined in the fire.
There are a number of reasons that this fire could have started, not all of them directly related to a mistake made by Google or Asus. It could have been an infrastructure issue or electrical surge just as easily as a faulty battery or wiring issue. Plus, this isn’t the first time a device has spontaneously combusted.
To Asus’ credit the user’s story has been taken as truth, even though there is really no way to tell who or what is at fault in a case like this. In response, Asus has allegedly offered to replace the Nexus 7 and include a free pair of Google Glass as an added bonus. It’s certainly admirable that Asus has stepped up to the plate and plans to set things right. However, since this particular incident has been so highly publicized there’s no doubt Asus realizes this is a necessary response if it wants to keep a positive brand image.
It’s certainly a dangerous line for Asus and Google — if the offering of Glass is true — to straddle. Once one fried device is replaced, it opens the floodgates for similar cases. Unfortunately, not all of those cases will be legitimate. It’s pretty easy (and arguably crazy) to torch a device once you’ve scratched the screen or broke some part of it. It may not be morally advisable, but we could see the generosity being exploited quite easily. Just as a disclaimer, if you’re thinking of setting fire to your Nexus 7 to earn a replacement then please refrain.
Since we’re innately curious about our readers, we have to ask if this has ever happened to you before. Any of you Nexus 7 owners had an unwelcome flame erupt from your tiny tablet? What about combusting devices in general? Any firsthand experience you’d like to share?