Just like cars, smartphones can overheat. And as with cars, it usually happens at the most inconvenient time.
Most automakers have long since overcome the overheating problems in cars. Now Chevrolet has also developed a solution to the problem in smartphones – at least when they're inside Chevy vehicles.
Several factors, including heavy load on the device’s data and graphics processors, high ambient temperatures or simply charging the device, can cause or worsen the overheating issue in smartphones.
The problem can be aggravated in vehicles during hot weather, when heat is trapped inside, causing cabin temperatures to soar much higher than outside temperatures.
Most smartphones have built-in thermal protection features to protect battery life, but that protection – which can cause the phone to pause charging or turn it off entirely until it has cooled down – can be particularly inconvenient for drivers who rely on their smartphones for streaming music, navigation or receiving phone calls in their vehicles.
It's a problem General Motors engineers encountered during routine testing of the smartphone wireless charging feature in some of the company's vehicles at temperature extremes. They noticed that some smartphones would suspend charging or shut off after only a few minutes in high temperatures inside a car’s cabin.
That experience prompted Chevrolet to address the issue with an Active Phone Cooling system that's available in several of the brand's 2016 vehicles when they are equipped with available wireless charging.
In simple terms, it's air conditioning for your smartphone. An air vent connected directly to the car’s air conditioning and ventilation system directs cool air to the charging bin where the phone rests for wireless charging.The system operates only when the HVAC system is turned on.
Active Phone Cooling will be available in the 2016 Chevrolet Cruze, Impala, Malibu, and Volt. According to General Motors, no other automotive manufacturer offers a similar solution for in-vehicle smartphone cooling.