It was meant to be “2016’s best smartphone,” a perfectly timed to launch before the impending Apple iPhone 7. The Galaxy Note7 impressed both the public and the media alike, and sold 2.5 million globally within weeks after its launch. As it turned out though, it wasn’t quite the explosive start Samsung was expecting. Frankly, neither did consumers.
Supposedly its best smartphone to date, a small number of Galaxy Note7s were reported to have overheated and caught fire. Several were said to have “exploded.”
Although affecting only 35 units initially (and mostly in the US), Samsung was swift to react to the issue. It subsequently released an official statement regarding the faulty device and announced a product recall while it investigated the issue further.
The smartphone giant also issued a firmware update that temporarily limited battery capacity to 60% to ensure safety of consumers.
Closer to home in Malaysia, which evidently did not have a chance for an official launch, a product recall was also extended, as well as a promise to fulfil all pre-orders. According to a source close to Samsung Malaysia, there’s a total of 6,000 units of Galaxy Note7s in Malaysia. None however have reported to have “randomly combusted” thus far.
As a safety precaution, airlines have barred the use of the Note7 in-flight, as well as charging the device in the cabin.
The initial diagnosis of the problem pointed to faulty battery cells in the phone. Samsung was reported to have dropped its battery component supplier believed to be Samsung SDI Co., one of its affiliate companies. The Korean consumer electronics giant is said to have switched to Amperex Technology Ltd., a unit if TDK Corp for replacement batteries.
Just as we thought the worst was over, several new reports of flaming Note7s have come in. This time involving replacement units. Samsung’s already tarnished brand image and shaken confidence looks to take a further beating.
The financial market didn’t like how all this is panning out either – Samsung shares fell more than 7% in Seoul, on Tuesday.
Some battery experts say that the Note7’s battery woes could be a result of another faulty component and not just the battery itself. Could it be the battery’s voltage control system? The CPU?
WSJ reports that on Tuesday, Samsung said it would permanently discontinue production and sales of the Note7, a day after it said it would temporarily halt sales and recalls.
“Taking our customers’ safety as our highest priority, we have decided to halt sales and production of the Galaxy Note7,” said Samsung.
While an initial glitch may be forgivable, a second glitch might have a longer-term detrimental impact on the brand. This raises questions of Samsung’s initial diagnosis of the problem as well as overall quality control. To its credit, the Korean brand has been prompt in the acknowledgment and addressing of its botched flagship.
Samsung advises consumers with either the original or replacement Note7 should power down and stop using the device.
Similarly for Malaysians, you’re also advised to power down your device and contact Samsung Malaysia at 1-800-88-7799 for further information.
While this isn’t the end of the road for Samsung, it might actually be the nail on the coffin for the Note7. Which is a shame really, because it’s a great product.
What do you think of the Note7 debacle? If it was deemed safe after the recall, would you still buy one?
Header image: TheSkop