How about stopping a moment and considering WHY folks would go with a battery from an after-market source. Mostly, it is because the OEM replacement battery is priced high enough to make a user consider replacing the whole device. Does a $120 replacement battery pack for a $400 laptop computer make sense? How about the replacement cell phone battery for $45, when the whole phone cost me $75? So from the very start we have the price set at a level high enough to be a real attention-getter, and then the manufacturers add in some secret ID chip so that the product will not work with the replacement after-market battery, and they raise the price of the OEM part another $50. If they would be honest about it, they would make the battery non-replaceable and tell folks that when the original battery failed they had to replace the whole thing. This would greatly increase the amount of electronic waste as well as profits. And it would get rid of the after-market replacement battery problem. Of course, we might see some resistance to throwing away a $399 smartphone after a few months.
Will, I have to disagree on the aftermarket comment. I like to save a buck as much as anyone, but we're talking about something that could injure or kill someone. OEM battery packs have safety features and quality standards that are lacking in the counterfeits -- there is a reason those counterfeits sell for so much less than the OEM version.
Like that guy quoted in the article said, reported cases are just the tip of the iceberg and lots of lawsuits are under gag order or settle out of court. It seems grossly unfair that a company should have to pay a big settlement for something that was beyond their control -- a consumer using an unapproved battery pack in their cellphone or notebook.
Cell phone manufacturers and their service provider partners have the right to protect themselves from lawsuits for injuries that are the result of misuse of the product. In fact, they have an obligation to protect consumers from their own behavior, if such behavior (buying a cheap battery) can result in injury or death.
If manufacturers don't protect consumers from themselves, the government might be tempted to enact new regulations to do it for them.
Of course there is always the Apple approach -- make the battery an irreplaceable part of the product. When your battery no longer holds enough charge, it's time to get a new phone. I think I prefer the option to replace the battery with another OEM battery that the phone recognizes as legitimate...and safe for use.
The high temperature detection functionality is an excellent idea. That seems like cheap insurance, not just against counterfeit batteries, but against the occasional faulty genuine battery, too.
However, keying genuine batteries in order to reject afermarket replacements is a very bad idea for consumers. Many aftermarket replacements may be perfectly safe and cheaper alternatives to the approved replacement item. I, for one, will avoid buying electronic items that leave me no options for maintenance.
NASA's Orion Flight Software Production Systems Manager Darrel G. Raines joins Planet Analog Editor Steve Taranovich and Embedded.com Editor Max Maxfield to talk about embedded flight software used in Orion Spacecraft, part of NASA's Mars mission. Live radio show and live chat. Get your questions ready.
Brought to you by