The Incredible Exploding Laptop

    June 29, 2006

There was a report last week of an exploding computer at a conference in Osaka, Japan. It seemed to be the real deal – there were pictures of a flaming laptop – but I dismissed the story. Surely, I thought, someone had tinkered with it and, intentionally or not, caused the mishap. Now I’m not so sure.

Dell spokeswoman Anne Camden has, as reported by Reuters, admitted the exploding laptop was a Dell. Furthermore, “We have captured the notebook and have begun investigating the event,” she said. The company seems to be taking the incident very seriously.

And that’s what bothers me. I would expect a corporation to deny everything (rightly or wrongly) after such a spectacle. Dell has only said that the explosion did not seem to be related to the battery issues for which it has previously issued recalls. “From here,” Camden said, “it’s going to be a very methodical and meticulous process to figure out what happened.”

I’m impressed by such a responsible attitude. This certainly is a serious issue, whatever the cause. The photographs of the Osaka incident showed flames that could have been very dangerous, although no one was injured. If there’s a “next time,” that could change. And as David Utter pointed out, if this sort of thing happened on an airplane, the result probably wouldn’t help resolve anyone’s fear of flying.

So it’s a very good thing that Dell is looking into the exploding laptop; it’s just a little disconcerting, as well. It should be interesting to see how this case develops.

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Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.