Sure, laptop batteries have had a tendency to explode. I even had a Handspring Visor that randomly went pop and spilled smoke on a table next to me. But there aren't that many stories going around these days about smartphones exploding, except the curious case of Aron Embry, who claims that his Motorola Droid exploded in his ear as he was using it.
On one hand, it's hard to doubt him: he showed his injuries, as well as the cracked and blood-splattered phone, to the local news in Dallas Fort-Worth. On the other hand, some of us were skeptical, as you don't typically see that kind of behavior in smartphones. Embry seemed sincere, but we thought there might be something else going on. The phone, said to be post-explosive, still worked.
But then Gearlog caught word from an anonymous Motorola employee who says the phone in question didn't explode.
The theory is that Embry dropped the phone, which shattered the glass, and then put it up to his ear without first looking at it, likely when answering a call. The shattered glass then simply gashed his ear. Since Droids aren't known to explode outside of certain episodes of "Star Wars," this scenario would make more sense.
In addition, the employee goes on to point out that any parts of a cell phone--capacitors or batteries, for example--that might explode would render a phone useless in doing so. The fact that the Droid still worked appears to support his theory.
Motorola says it's still officially researching the incident and is taking it seriously. We've e-mailed Embry to get his reaction to the company's theory but haven't heard back yet.
But to quote some fellow nerds from my favorite TV show, this myth might be busted.