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Samsung explains the cause behind the combustible Galaxy Note 7

/ 03:10 PM January 23, 2017
Samsung Battery investigation

Samsung initially blamed the batteries to be the cause of the explosions but at the time of that announcement, the findings seemed rushed and lacked a more in-depth investigation. Image: Samsung

Samsung has finally revealed their findings on the catastrophic Galaxy Note 7, detailing the studies done by three separate entities that attempted to pinpoint the root cause of Samsung’s woes.

Calling an international press conference today in Seoul, South Korea after a four-month-long investigation, Samsung explained that the blame ultimately falls on irregularly shaped batteries which greatly affected Galaxy Note 7’s inner workings, leading to the unfortunate and fiery failures.

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The first instance

Around half of the initial round of Galaxy Note 7 batteries were produced by Samsung’s subsidiary, Samsung SDI. The investigations found that the battery cell pouch from this manufacturer had largely curved edges and did not provide enough space to accommodate the inner components. This unintentionally damaged some of the internal parts and eventually caused the battery to overheat during normal charging cycles.

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Battery A

This illustrates how the faulty Samsung SDI battery had damaged internal components. Image: Samsung

Battery A extra factor

Image: Samsung

Recalls, then round two

After Samsung recalled the affected Galaxy Note 7s, the company assured their customers that not all devices were at risk. They determined that the devices with battery cells made by affiliate company Amperex Technology were safe and thus proceeded with the exchange program of the Note 7s. Unfortunately, with the race to accommodate demands, certain manufacturing issues arose that once again caused the replacement Note 7s to combust.

Battery B

Rushing to fill the gaps and replace recalled units just caused more manufacturing problems. Image: Samsung

Battery B extra factor

Image: Samsung

This ultimately led to the worldwide recall of the beloved Galaxy Note 7 and its eventual discontinuation. As of today, Samsung reports that around 96 percent of Galaxy Note 7s have been safely recalled. This totaled to around 3 million handsets. However, according to TechRadar, U.S. carrier Verizon indicates that “thousands” of its customers have yet to turn in their devices.

irregular batteries x-ray

This x-ray image shows the irregular shapes that some of the batteries had. Image: Samsung

Lessons learned and applied

With Samsung’s reputation as a leading smartphone manufacturer in dire need of repair, the company has developed an “8-Point Battery Safety Check” that it hopes will curtail any possibility of a repeat of this tragic billion dollar fiasco. Watch the video below for the details of this new quality control scheme.

2017 and onwards

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Due to the unfortunate turn of events, Samsung will not be launching the Galaxy S8 at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The Verge reports that the company’s mobile head DJ Koh made the announcement but did not specify a date for the new flagship’s launch. It is likely that Samsung wants to take the time to fully implement their new 8-point safety scheme to prevent another debacle. Nevertheless, the company has gone on record that a Galaxy Note 8 is being scheduled for a 2017 release.

Before battery cells started catching fire, the Galaxy Note 7 was hailed as one of the best smartphones in the market, thanks to its build quality, features, and the trademark S-Pen stylus. How Samsung will manage to resuscitate the ‘Note’ brand is anyone’s guess. Either way, all questions about the future of Samsung’s smartphones will be answered at the launch of the new Galaxy S8. Alfred Bayle

TOPICS: battery issues, Galaxy Note 7, Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8, Mobile World Congress, MWC, Samsung, smartphones
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