Brazilian whacks Intel over 'exploding' Atom smartphone chips

Mobe maker demands millions after SoFIA processors sparked thousands of complaints

Intel is being sued by a Brazilian phone maker that claims Chipzilla's smartphone Atom processors caused handsets to explode.

Specifically, Qbex says the Atom SoFIA system-on-chips used in its Android handhelds were defective and prone to overheating that, in some cases, would cause the devices to catch fire or explode.

The biz is seeking $100m in damages. Intel reckons the tech peddler has no evidence to support the claim.

"Intel was fully aware of this defect at the time of its sales to Qbex and eventually suspended the production of the SoFIA microprocessors," reads the Brazilians' lawsuit, filed in a California district court this week. "But with callous disregard for the safety of the public in Brazil, Intel continued to dump its defective products into the market."

The SoFIA chips were part of Intel's Atom mobile push. They were cancelled along with the Broxton Atom CPU line back in June of last year. According to Qbex, it continued to receive SoFIA chips well into the second quarter of this year without providing technical support. By then, Qbex said, it had received over 35,000 customer complaints about the phones exploding and had launched its own investigation.

"Through its own independent research, Qbex determined that a design defect in Intel's SoFIA microprocessor was the cause of the overheating and stopped selling Intel smartphones," the suit reads.

"By then the smartphone fiasco had destroyed Qbex's reputation and as a result Qbex's sales have plummeted."

Now, Qbex claims, it is facing more than 4,000 lawsuits in Brazil, and thinks Chipzilla should be the one to cover the damages. The suit accuses Intel of negligent misrepresentation, breach of warranty, breach of good faith, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and conspiracy.

"We are reviewing the allegations in the complaint and we will investigate them thoroughly," an Intel spokesperson told The Register. "However, we have no evidence to suggest that the overheating issues Qbex alleges were caused by our product." ®

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