“Unhealthy” Competition May Have Caused The Note 7 Fires As Samsung Vows Better Batteries

Samsung has a full report out on why its iconic Note 7 phone was catching fire when on charge. If you remember, it happened the first time and then they recalled the phones (about 2.5 million) and then returned with news that they had fixed the issue. But alas, the phones started catching fire again which eventually led the to discontinue production of a phone that was supposed to compete with the iPhone 7 and Google Pixel. As a result their profit outlook was downgraded even though they later reported profit towards the end of 2016 but before now, there have been speculations from different corners about what really went wrong but Samsung has an official report out.

The summary of it is that the first incident was as a result of a design flaw meaning that the casing was to small to house the battery. This eventually caused a short circuit when users charged the device. This led to the first recall and eventually they turned to another battery supplier which tired to avoid the flaws of the first. But in a bid to stay competitive with the likes of Apple, Google and other manufacturers, they ignored the manufacturing defect of the second supplier which caused the second round of explosions.

The bid news here is not that we now know what caused the problem but that how Samsung can restore the confidence of its loyal users in its future products. This highlights the effects of “unhealthy” competitions over safety. It was long ago that I did a report on the possible reasons for this flaw and one of them was Samsung’s haste to beat Apple with respect to profits from smartphone sales even though it already leads with respect to shipment.

That said, the long road to regaining the trust of its fans begins. D.J. Koh who is the head of mobile at Samsung told CNET that “for customers, we have to develop innovation, but customer safety is the priority….in the end, we can win the customers’ trust back.”

See Samsung’s full report below;

Samsung Announces Cause of Galaxy Note7 Incidents in Press Conference

Following several months of in-depth investigations, Samsung Electronics today announced the cause of the Note7 incidents and measures to prevent a recurrence during a press conference held in Seoul, Korea. DJ Koh, President of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics, shared detailed results of the investigation and expressed his sincere apology and gratitude to Galaxy Note7 customers, mobile operators, retail and distribution partners and business partners for their patience and continued support.

Koh was joined by executives from UL, Exponent and TUV Rheinland, leading independent industry groups that conducted their own investigation into various aspects of the Galaxy Note7 incidents.

Speakers included:

  • Sajeev Jesudas, President, Consumer Business Unit, UL
  • Kevin White, Ph.D, Principal Scientist, Exponent
  • Holger Kunz, Executive Vice President Products, TUV Rheinland AG

Speakers discussed the findings of the investigations in depth and unveiled new measures Samsung has taken to respond to the incidents.

Based on what the company learned from the investigation, Samsung implemented a broad range of internal quality and safety processes to further enhance product safety including additional protocols such as the multi-layer safety measures and 8-Point Battery Safety Check. Samsung also formed a Battery Advisory Group of external advisers, academic and research experts to ensure it maintains a clear and objective perspective on battery safety and innovation. Battery Advisory Group members include:

  • Clare Grey, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry, University of Cambridge
  • Gerbrand Ceder, Ph.D., Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, UC Berkeley
  • Yi Cui, Ph.D., Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University
  • Toru Amazutsumi, Ph.D., CEO, Amaz Techno-consultant

“For the last several months, together with independent industry expert organizations, we conducted thorough investigation to find cause to the Galaxy Note7 incidents.” Koh said, “Today, more than ever, we are committed to earning the trust of our customers through innovation that redefines what is possible in safety, and as a gateway to unlimited possibilities and incredible new experiences.”


[Infographic] Galaxy Note7 – What We Discovered
Infographic Galaxy Note7 What we discovered

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