The Pixel 7 is the latest smartphone to feature self-destructing cameras

The Pixel 7 is the latest smartphone to feature self-destructing cameras
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Last year’s Pixel 7’s biggest design change was in the camera stick, which went from a single large sheet of glass covering each camera to a solid aluminum block with smaller glass cutouts over each camera lens. The thinking at the time was that less glass would cause less light streaking in the camera and perhaps better stability due to the smaller glass area. Ironically, this smaller bottle is more prone to breakage. Tons of reports started popping up Redditthe Google support forumsand Twitter claimed that the camera glass was broken one day. Besides the hundreds of responses on Reddit and support forums #pixel7 broken camera Twitter will give you an endless stream of horrible pictures.

We’ve seen this exact problem several times before in the smartphone world. Samsung faced this problem in 2016 Galaxy S7 and again in 2021 Galaxy S20, both started class actions. In the cases of Samsung and Google, the broken glass does not appear to have been broken by impact, usually showing the point of impact and the external spider web. In these cases, a large, round hole appears in the glass – it looks like the phone has been hit by a bullet.

These special smartphone glass panels increase scratch resistance stressing the glass. We don’t know the manufacturer of Google’s camera glass, but a Corning engineer explains the general process involved Scientific American article, “There is a compressive stress layer, then a central stress layer that the glass wants to compress, and then another compressive stress layer.” If you mess something up in your glass formula and those layers aren’t in perfect balance, one day the glass will just “pop” and you’ll get these outer mini explosions.

The Galaxy S20 from a few years ago.  All this is very familiar.

The Galaxy S20 from a few years ago. All this is very familiar.

It sounds like what people are describing some suspect The change in temperature from cold outdoors to indoor warmth is what triggers the glass. To say that it was a drop would be quite hard to believe. The camera cover is a small circle of glass surrounded by aluminum – even if you try to lower the phone to the camera cover, it will be very difficult.

Although it’s hard to imagine that this is user abuse, some users say that Google doesn’t deal with the problem under warranty. Alex Hatzenbuhler, one of the victims of Google’s exploding bottle, Posted in screenshot from Google device support claiming that the problem is not under warranty. Some users are quoted about $200 for repair.

There was a class action lawsuit filed by Samsung over the camera glass Both of neutralized Thanks to Samsung’s terms of use, demanding “Mandatory Individual Arbitration Clause and Class Action/Jury Trial Waiver Clause.” Google users default to a similar contract That gives them almost no rights, and you can refuse from binding arbitration, most people don’t, so the claim is unlikely to go anywhere.

What arbitration cannot stop is online harassment and negative press from sites like this. So hey, Google, protect your obviously defective hardware under warranty. The Pixel hardware section is very small and wants to grow, but if you start making fun of your small customer base, you won’t get anywhere. A public statement saying it’s under warranty will help people deal with customer support. We have email.

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