With smartphones becoming less a rich man’s toy and more an everyday computing companion for music, mapping, mail, and more, a variety of peripheral concerns and ventures have arisen. Burgeoning technology is on the forefront, seeking to push phones into new levels of functionality. Google’s Project Fi is among those exploring new boundaries in phone service, offering a combination of Sprint, T-Mobile, and Wi-Fi for making calls. New headlines burst forth every other month proclaiming a breakthrough in battery development that’ll revolutionize phone longevity, though nothing to match that claim has yet hit the market.
Beyond primary technological improvements, there are various quality-of-life concerns for the phones that are available so far. Some of these are practical, like IKEA’s array of furniture equipped with wireless charging capability. Some are a little more frivolous, like MOGA’s video game controller clip for mobile gaming apps. Arguably somewhere in between is Chevrolet’s new smartphone air conditioning system.
Dubbed “Active Phone Cooling,” the technology consists of an in-car phone bin equipped with a wireless charging device and an air conditioning vent. In order to combat the heat generated by sunny weather, regular use, and charging, the vent delivers a continuous supply of cool air whenever the vehicle’s AC is turned on. Chevrolet’s press release was quick to point out that none of its competitors offer something like this. Jeffrey Van Camp, deputy editor of Digital Trends, was cited as evidence for the importance of temperature-related phone care. “Over time, regular overheating can do permanent damage to the lithium ion batteries that power our smartphones,” he observes. “I always recommend keeping your phone in a cool, ventilated place, where it can stay at a comfortable room temperature, whether it’s charging or discharging.” The vehicles to offer this new technology include 2016 models of the Impala, Volt, Malibu, and Cruze.