Have you heard of water-cooled PCs? Yes. Have you heard of water-cooled Smartphones? No. Will you be hearing more about them soon? Hell yeah!
NEC is a Japanese company that had released the world’s first water-cooled Smartphone a couple of weeks ago. Water filled heat-pipes are used in the NEC Medias X 06E (cool name huh) to draw away heat from the heart of the SoC, namely the processor. Till date, Smartphones never required the use of such powerful cooling systems, simply because ARM chips work very well in their traditional Fanless design. However, newer Smartphones packing increasingly powerful chipsets might need a new solution to the rising heat.
Take the Galaxy S4 for example. There are numerous reports of the phone not functioning properly due to excessive heat generated by the Exynos 5 Octa SoC. Why, the phone display gets hot enough to make a half-fried egg (which we guarantee, won’t taste good). So water-cooling might just have a place in future phones, where perhaps true Octa-core processors buzz under the hood. Use of 4G radios only adds to the heat generation.
The NEC Medias X 06E has a 0.6mm radius heat-pipe that cools the most essential part of the phone. A quick note, the Medias X packs a 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro SoC, a 4.7-inch HD OLED display, Android 4.2 Jelly Bean and is also IP58 certified (sweet).
DigiTimes reports that some companies, including Japan’s own Furukawa Electric and Chaun-Choung Technology, Auras and TaiSoi Electronics are working on 0.6mm thin heat-pipe based water cooling solutions for Smartphones. Sadly, the yield of the product is very low, at just 30%. To get more OEMs on board, the yield will simply have to go up. Of course, give it a year and we should be seeing high-end 64-bit Smartphones in 2014 using such premium cooling solutions.