Samsung Delaying Galaxy S8 Launch Following Note 7 Fire Investigation

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Word leaked last week that Samsung’s official Galaxy Note 7 fire investigation would point to the device’s battery as the cause of the problem, and that’s exactly what the company said on Monday. Samsung also it’s delaying the launch of the Galaxy S8 smartphone as a result of its Note 7 investigation.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in burning pile of money

Samsung confirms battery flaws in Note 7 fires, delays S8 launch

Samsung executives said its two suppliers, Samsung SDI and Amperex Technology, delivered batteries with defects that led to short circuits. The defects, they said, were different for each manufacturer.

The Galaxy Note 7 smartphone was released in August 2016 ahead of Apple’s fall iPhone 7 launch. Samsung was hoping to entice new customers thanks to rumors that the iPhone 7 would be disappointing. Instead, the company drew headlines over reports that its phones were catching fire.

Samsung offered replacement Note 7s to its customers, but those also caught fire. In the end the U.S. Department of Transportation and Federal Aviation Administration banned the transport of the devices on airplanes, and Samsung stopped production and killed off the model.

Over 90% of the Note 7 phones sold have been returned, and Samsung released a software update to stop those that still unaccounted for from charging. Verizon is trying to get its remaining Note 7 users to turn in their phones by rerouting calls made from the devices on its network to customer service representatives.

An independent study looked at the Note 7’s design and concluded that the battery compartment was too small. Some battery swelling is normal, so smartphone makers typically make their compartments 10% larger. The Note 7’s compartment, however, was just large enough to fit a new battery so the thin membrane separating its chemical components ruptured, causing the fires.

According to Samsung, just over 3 million Note 7 smartphones were sold, and 96% have been returned. That leaves about 12,000 phones in the wild, some of which seem to still work and continue to pose a fire hazard.

The Galaxy Note 7 didn’t help Samsung’s reputation, but it doesn’t seem to have hurt it, either. The company’s long-term reputation as a smartphone maker rests in the hands of the Galaxy S8, which may account for why Samsung is delaying its launch. If the S8 turns into an explode-a-phone like the Note 7, consumers will stop trusting the company, and that’s not something Samsung is willing to risk.

3 Comments Add a comment

  1. They really couldn’t do anything else. One bad phone is a black eye. If the S8 did the same thing that would be a knockout punch. Right now they missed a year at most. Another one would cost them two or more if it took them longer to figure out how to fix the issue. At that point the S series would be a toxic brand. Plus Samsung would be playing catch up with a market that had moved on to other brands. A couple months delay now is really the only thing Samsung could do.

  2. Well, Jeff, I have but one burning question.

    Not to be, how to put this, inflammatory, but did Samsung not know after, what, umpteen years in the handset cum smartphone business, that batteries swell when in use, and that the battery housing should therefore be a wee bit bigger than the battery itself?

    Perhaps, in a nod to the recent dalliance that many appear to be having with alternative facts in the political sphere, Samsung decided to play footsie with alternative physics in the tech sphere.

    Hopefully, lessons learnt all round.

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