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Weekend Roundup : Samsung Galaxy S III damaged in Microwave, Apple iPhone 5 photos leaked and O2 suffers a network failure

Welcome to the ITProPortal weekend roundup column, where our editors look back at the week’s stories and pick out the best bits.

The articles that caught my attention this week relate to hoaxes, failures, and leaks.

At the start of the week, we published an update to a story from a few weeks back where Samsung launched an investigation into the Galaxy S3 smartphone. This was after images emerged online showing that the phone had over-heated and exploded in a car.

The owner claimed the malfunction happened when the S3 was sitting untouched in his car's phone holster. He said, "a white flame, sparks and a bang came out of the phone. I pulled in to look at my phone, the phone burned from the inside out. Burned through the plastic and melted my case to my phone."

We updated the original story when news from Samsung’s Fire Investigation surfaced. Samsung uncovered the exact cause of the damage, with the report stating, “The energy source responsible for generating the heat has been determined as external to the device” and “the device was not responsible for the cause of the fire.”

"The only way it was possible to produce [the] damage...was to place the device or component parts within a domestic microwave." The S3 owner had apparently been trying to fix water-damage in the device, and the "large amount of external energy" placed on the device was responsible.

There are less hazardous ways of fixing water damaged phones, using either silica gel or uncooked rice. Place the affected mobile in an airtight container, with either product, overnight and the water should be drawn out - although if components are already fried, this won't help. Microwaving the handset is clearly not the answer.

The first leak of the week came when photos appeared online allegedly showing an iPhone 5 engineering sample. This highlighted a taller, thinner mobile, broadly in line with previous rumours suggesting Apple's next-generation flagship smartphone would have a larger form factor.

The handset in the pictures retained the style of the current generation iPhone 4S, but offering a larger display, potentially 4in, as opposed to the 3.5in screen found on Apple's present flagship device.

The case is also taller at 120mm, making it 5mm larger than the 4S. Key positioning points appear to be in place and also similar, with the only real potential design revelation being the appearance of a small hole between the rear camera and the LED flash, which could be a rear-facing microphone used for AV recording and noise reduction.

The second notable leak came on the last working day of the week - also an iPhone 5, but with a much better picture. These new photos show the next-gen iPhone, next to an iPhone 4. The latest pictures show a number of key design features, including a larger display and smaller dock connector heavily rumoured for some time now.

This won’t be the last leak surrounding the iPhone 5, though some of these should be taken with a pinch of salt. In saying that, the new form factor of the phone does seem to be a constant throughout recent rumours and photos. The anticipation for the new handset is starting to ramp up now, though. Let’s just hope someone carelessly leaves a prototype in a bar, again.

The failure of the week came from O2, which suffered a catastrophic outage leaving its customers unable to make or receive calls. This was first spotted on Wednesday 11 July, at around 1:30pm.

This issue grew into a two-day problem for a significant amount of customers, affecting both data and text messaging, too. It was finally resolved on Thursday 11 July, at around 1:30pm. O2 posted a message to its website stating that tests now show that all 2G and 3G services have been fully restored for affected customers.

The network outage was a troubling one and seemed reminiscent of issues observed by BlackBerry handset owners, last year. That wasn’t just confined to O2, but to every network supporting and carrying the Research In Motion devices. These phones couldn’t receive emails, BlackBerry Messages or gain Internet access – for a whole week!

O2 customers should consider themselves lucky, as the issue was resolved in around 24-hours. There will inevitably be a loss of confidence in O2, as a result of the problems. It's too early to tell how customers will react, but it's clear that O2 needs to come up with some decent good will packages. If you've decided to leave O2 as a result of the outage, check out our top eight mobile phone deals for angry O2 customers.

Rob Kerr is a journalist with more than 14 years experience of news, reviews and feature writing on titles such as Wired, PC Magazine, The Register, The Inquirer, Pocket-Lint, Mobile Industry Review, Know Your Mobile and The Gadget Show. The mobile phone world is his real passion and forte, having owned a handset as far back as 1994 where he has seen them grow from just a business tool to a necessity in everyone’s everyday life.