The following is an editorial. The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
Unless you've completely cut yourself off from the tech world, you have undoubtedly come across an article or two discussing the latest laptop battery going up in flames. Slowly, but surely, the severity of these claims has escalated from a lone laptop on a table to a system owned by Telsa Gwynne, the wife of Linux kernel programmer, Alan Cox. In her case, she suffered minor burns while flying debris took out an LCD monitor standing peacefully by. Even more frightening, just last week, a battery burst into flames within the waiting area of an airport in California. The gentleman who owned the laptop was actually on his way to board his plane when he had to run back down the jet way to toss it to the ground. Imagine that battery waited an hour longer before going up. Suddenly, one lost laptop could have evolved into many lost lives
While most people would agree that no product is guaranteed to perform 100% without any possibility of catastrophic failure, the frequency of these failures, at least in my eyes, seems pretty alarming. How long will it be before someone gets injured beyond minor burns and scratches? If a person does get severely injured, who should that person sue: The laptop manufacturer or the producer of the battery that failed (or in America, both)? And finally, which will cost more, the resulting lawsuit or a redesign of the batteries?
Any way you look at it, something has to be done. Many other industries get scrutinized heavily when their products fail to this degree, yet no one has really stepped up to the plate to let the PC industry know that change is needed. Should we just hope that our laptops won't go up in smoke or should we, as the consumer, demand safer products from the corporations who make the products we spend so much money on?