1 gal of gasoline has 131MJ of energy! So what is the problem with electric cars? I think the incident of fiery death of drivers involved in accidents will be much lower for the electric car driver than the conventional ICE car driver.
James Etheridge from Nokia's media team posted a comment at the following URL that suggests lightning may have contributed to the incident: http://www.intomobile.com/2010/08/19/indian-man-killed-by-exploding-mobile-phone/
But all in all, I think Feory's last paragraph summarizes things best at this point.
It is hard to understand how a mobile phone malfunction could cause death. It should be considered that when the phone is held to the ear it is also held close to the jugular vein. If someone was unlucky and a sharp fragment of phone casing cut the vein could that be responsible for fatal bleeding?
I see a generic 0.22 bullet, (2gms) and 440m/s solves to 193.6 Joules.
Note that the Electrical Energy, is not going to be the same as explosive/ballistic or thermal energy, once burning starts.
According to http://www.cpkb.net/wiki/Nokia_BL-5CA_battery, that battery weighs 18g. So, at 0.5MJ/Kg, we're talking 9KJ of energy. That is, "at most," since they said he'd been talking on the phone for a while, and some of that battery mass must be inert (plastic case, contacts, etc.).
So, is that the equivalent (1/2 mv^2, is it?) of an 180Kg weight hitting you at 10m/s? Well, I don't know for certain that that would be lethal, but it could definitely do some damage.
I'm not a battery expert, but I can't immediately think what could cause ... or even allow ... a battery to expend all of its energy that rapidly.
I really doubt if this is cause for cell phone recalls, but have to wonder about electric cars, however!
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