Users report Pixel 7 camera glass spontaneously shattering without cause
Surprise! Google says the breakage is not covered under warrantyBy Cal Jeffrey 15 comments
Facepalm: If you bought or are considering purchasing the new Pixel 7, watch out for the glass coverings over the camera sensors. Many users report that the protective covers have violently shattered for no apparent reason. To make matters worse, Google seems to be filing complaints in the not-covered-by-warranty category.
Last month, Pixel 7 users began reporting strange fractures in the glass covering the phone's rear camera lenses. Reddit, Twitter, and Google's support forums are riddled with complaints and pictures of Pixels with their rear coverings appearing as if shot with a small projectile.
Most users are baffled about the breakage since they claim they have never dropped or banged their phones. Some say the glass just shattered while resting in their pocket. Spontaneous shattering is not unheard of, according to Corning Glass engineers.
"There's a layer of compressive stress, then a layer of central tension, where the glass wants to press out, then another layer of compressive stress," one engineer told Scientific American in 2013. If this delicate balance is not just right, the pressure can release, resulting in small outward explosions.
Some users suggest that temperature changes could be a catalyst triggering the problem. For example, users placing the phone into a warm pants pocket after having it out and exposed to cold winter temperatures might be enough to cause the glass to rupture.
Unsurprisingly, complaining Pixel 7 owners found Google less than cooperative about the situation. Four days ago, a Redditor claims a support rep said that the warranty did not cover the repair. The representative also told him that this was the first complaint the company had received about the issue. However, looking on Twitter, one can find reports dating as far back as mid-December.
Additionally, users have repeatedly brought up the problem on Google's Pixel Phone Help forum since at least December 9. A Twitter user even posted a screenshot of a Google Support Team member admitting (below) that the company is aware of the problem but has "decided NOT to include [the defect] as a part of the warranty. [emphasis Google's]."
So it would appear that whomever the Redditor spoke with either lied or was ignorant that reports have flooded into Google for a month, with support telling customers it was a $200 repair.
Here is direct evidence, from "The highest tier" of @madebygoogle pixel support, that they are aware of the issue. Just because you haven't seen it doesn't mean it isn't an issue. Please consider the truth of your tweets careful before posting. #pixel7brokencamera pic.twitter.com/6EgWiY6SE8— Alex Hatzenbuhler (@ahatzz11) December 23, 2022
Shattering camera glass is not an unknown problem for smartphones. Samsung had similar issues with the Galaxy S20. Google seems to be following the same playbook.
Last year, droves of Galaxy S20 users reported the rear camera glass shattering spontaneously. Even though Samsung admitted that the breakage was caused by a pressure build-up under that glass and not by user abuse or accidents, it continued to charge to repair the faulty phone glass. Samsung said it would not honor warranty repairs because the damage was "cosmetic."
It was subsequently hit with a class-action lawsuit for fraud, breach of contract, and violation of several consumer protection laws. Samsung moved to postpone the hearing, citing that some of the listed plaintiffs did not opt-out of the arbitration clause per the terms of their contracts.
A judge agreed to hold the case pending the arbitration of potentially millions of incidents, effectively delaying the lawsuit indefinitely.