Chevy rolls out tiny air conditioner for your hot smartphone

Coddle your overheated smartphone with a special cool air vent built into upcoming Chevrolet vehicles.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read

The cold air vent sits behind the smartphone. Chevrolet

It's July in New Mexico. It's hot. I get into my car. I set my Moto X on the passenger seat where it silently cooks even as the air conditioner blasts me in the face. My smartphone probably hates me. Maybe I should check into buying a 2016 Chevrolet with an Active Phone Cooling system.

Chevy is introducing a personal air conditioner for your smartphone. It's a cold air vent that chills out your phone when it sits on a little tray below the dashboard. The idea is that keeping your phone cool improves performance and battery life compared with cooking it like a pancake on a griddle inside a hot car.

The smartphone cool-air emitter is connected to the car's air conditioning and ventilation system. Chevrolet says this is an industry-first technology, though a similar effect might be achieved by fashioning a small smartphone hammock and hanging it in front of your car's regular air-conditioning vent. Having it built into the vehicle is a much neater solution, however.

Active Phone Cooling will be available in 2016 Impala, Malibu, Volt and Cruze models that are equipped with wireless charging. This is convenient for smartphone users who rely on their devices to play music and take hands-free calls on the road. You get the dual benefit of cooling and charging (if you have a compatible phone) at the same time.

Chevrolet's in-car wireless charging system was developed in conjunction with wireless-charging company Powermat. A few phones support this kind of charging, but most smartphone users will need a special back plate or dongle to make use of it.

Chevy timed the announcement of Active Phone Cooling perfectly for summer in the US when we're all leaping into broiling cars, yelping when we touch the steering wheel and watching plastic melt like Dali's clocks.