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Liquid-cooled smartphones from Samsung, HTC, and Apple coming later this year

According to a DigiTimes report, Samsung, HTC, and Apple are among a few who are already looking into the use of liquid cooling in their future smartphones.
June 18, 2013
Liquid cooling
We told you about the world’s first liquid-cooled handset about a month ago when NEC introduced the Medias X-06E phone for NTT DoCoMo over in Japan. It basically uses a smartphone-centric heat pipe design that relies on cooling technology yet untapped even on today’s high-end models. How would you like to have this same cooling tech in your next Samsung smartphone? What about one from HTC? Or one from Apple?

As it turns out, big name smartphone makers such as the ones mentioned above are already looking into using liquid cooling for their future products, the first of which might be released some time before the end of this year, DigiTimes reports. It is said that you can expect to see these new handsets with liquid cooling some time in Q4 2013, at the earliest. Check your calendar and you’ll see that it’s actually not that far at all.

The conventional method of smartphone cooling — which makes use of graphite foil sheets — has been deemed to be unfit for the needs of the modern smartphone. As such, the use of heat pipes is seen as a worthy alternative, especially as the use of 4G LTE connectivity becomes more and more common.

Heat pipes would provide a passive cooling solution for smartphones and might also make way for more efficient phone designs. The key to making this all work lies in finding the right liquid coolant and fitting all of it inside heat pipes that are just the right size for modern handsets.

Heat pipe cooling technology is already in use in many of today’s modern computers, possibly even the one you are reading this article on right now — if that’s a laptop or a desktop computer. But physical limitations, such as the fact that most manufacturers fail in making a heat pipe that’s smaller than 3mm in diameter, prevent their widespread use in smaller devices such as tablets and smartphones. NEC successfully crafted pipes that measure only 0.6mm thick in diameter, but so far their use is limited to just the Medias X-06E phone that was introduced last month.

For now, we can only hope for a future where the manufacture of liquid-cooled smartphones is the norm. But as the father of modern rocketry Robert Goddard once said, it just might be the reality of tomorrow.