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article imageNexus 6P owners experiencing 'spontaneous glass shattering'

By James Walker     Nov 8, 2015 in Technology
Owners of Google's recently-launched Nexus 6P phablet are reporting incidents of the glass panel on the back of the handset spontaneously shattering during everyday use. Others have even seen the main display crack of its own accord.
The International Business Times reports that a growing number of users are posting reports of alleged "spontaneous glass shattering" to Reddit and Twitter. They claim their Nexus 6P is effectively brand-new and hasn't been dropped or mishandled before, saying the phone's glass can randomly crack even when left alone on a table.
The Huawei-built Nexus 6P has a mostly metal body but the camera "visor" on the back is covered by a sheet of glass. It is this that is being ruined, destroying the handset's aesthetics and rendering the camera unusable until the cracks are fixed.
Reddit user jonny_rat posted a photo of his damaged device which cracked itself after being left alone on a table. He wrote: "Well that was a surprise. For me, and the cat. It was sat on a table next to me when I heard the glass snap, leaving a little snowball of shavings on the table under it. It's now continuing to crack away to itself."
Twitter user @steamyhams had a similar experience, posting: "blimey. Nexus 6P sat on a table untouched next to me: heard a loud snap, & this happened!"
Android Police has picked up on the issue and points out the lack of any obvious impact mark on the affected handsets appears to confirm the glass is spontaneously cracked. One owner sent the site a picture of his Nexus 6P with a large crack across the front glass over the display which formed after taking an airline flight.
Although it's impossible to say for sure that the user is not at fault, the growing number of reports indicates there is likely to be a manufacturing issue affecting some Nexus 6P devices. The phone has been mostly positively reviewed since launch but shattering glass isn't likely to help with future sales. Google and Huawei have yet to comment on the reports but speculation on the cause of the shattering has already brought a plausible conclusion.
Most of the damage has been caused when the phone is warm to the touch after extended or intensive use. The handset's metal construction means the body will expand or contract slightly as it is heated, changing the pressure on the glass and potentially causing the effects that users have noticed.
Reddit user RedHeadedMenace offered an explanation. The process used to temper the glass focuses on resisting head-on impact at the expense of durability after a sheer impact. To compensate for this weakness, most displays have a small plastic shock ring between the body and the screen that can absorb some of the sheer impact force.
The Nexus 6P's visor does not appear to have any such shock ring. This means that if the case exerts any extra lateral pressure on the glass — such as when it expands or contracts with heat — then only a very small amount of force would be required to stress the glass and eventually crack it.
Panels that are confirmed to have cracked of their own accord should be replaced under warranty but owners may have a hard time convincing Google or Huawei that they haven't caused the damage themselves. The lack of any obvious impact mark may help with this and all owners who notice cracks developing on their Nexus 6P visor are encouraged to post on Reddit and the Google hardware forum so the company has more evidence to work with.
Assuming there is a problem, it's currently unclear what Google could do to fix it as fitting another glass panel could just result in that also cracking. Android Police says the owner who reported the front glass cracking on an airline flight was referred to Huawei for support after notifying Google of the damage, suggesting the company will be leaving it to the manufacturer to arrange replacements.
More about Google, nexus 6p, Huawei, google nexus, Smartphone
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