Samsung still has no idea what caused Note 7 debacle

Poor Samsung. In its rush to compete with Apple’s slim design, the Note 7 tried to defy the laws of physics. And NO ONE messes with physics.

bro-do-you-even-science

But the South Korean company still can’t pinpoint exactly what went wrong. The unofficial theory is that the battery capacity was probably just too large for such a small space. X-ray and CT scans of the Note 7 model showed a bulge.

“Probably” just isn’t definitive enough. In an op-ed, The Wall Street Journal points out that,

“Outside experts have pointed to a range of possible culprits, from the software that manages how the battery interacts with other smartphone components to the design of the entire circuit. Engineers are also looking into the possibility that the battery case may have been too small to house a battery of that capacity, according to one Samsung mobile executive…”

Samsung is currently running an investigation to find out the exact reason for the explosions, but there aren’t any findings yet. Sammobile points out that an issue with the battery cell causes it to overheat when the anode and cathode come into contact with each other. But so far, Samsung is giving a giant ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Image credit: Associated Press
Image credit: Associated Press

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is also expected to launch an investigation to find out whether Samsung contacted the agency quickly enough to warn of the dangers.

The recall of the Note 7 will cost Samsung around $3 billion during Q4 of 2016 and Q1 of 2017. We’ll discover over time how much this issue will affect customer perception and support of the Samsung brand.

  • kbiel

    The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is also expected to launch an investigation to find out whether Samsung contacted the agency quickly enough to warn of the dangers.

    That’s not what the article stated. It said the CPSC was concerned that Samsung issued a recall before they could investigate. In other words, the CPSC would be happy to let more phones burn up so they wouldn’t look useless.

    • Major_Pita

      It should be investigating the issue. If you look at the end result – Samsung pulling the phone from the market and the subsequent dollar loss, coupled with the fact that Samsung can’t find any manufacturing defects, all possibilities should be considered including persons or organizations with the objectives of removing a competing product from the market and intentionally damaging Samsung’s reputation among consumers. With the amount of money involved, nothing should dismissed out-of-hand.

      • kbiel

        So, let more phones burn while bureaucrats investigate? I’ll take fast action from a company responding to market forces over ponderous government oversight any day. Samsung’s motivation is to save their reputation so that they can continue to sell other products. What is a bureaucrat’s motivation? If they screw it up, they don’t get fired. (If you doubt that, exactly how many EPA employees have been fired or disciplined for poisoning the Animas River?) Their paychecks on not dependent on how many people they save from loss, injury, or death. And their only reputation is to look necessary so that Congress continues to fund them and increase their regulatory reach. Hence, they’re upset that Samsung did the right thing without their involvement.

        Note that nothing Samsung has done can or should stop the CPSC from investigating on their own or with Samsung. They are not complaining that they cannot investigate. They are complaining that they were not part of the remedy.

        • Major_Pita

          Not sure which bureaucrats you’re referring to unless its the FBI. They’re about the only ones with international jurisdiction which would likely come into play. Corporations would not have subpoena power. As for other government agencies I agree and share some of your opinions. It would be grandstanding at best. The CPSC should investigate but they take months if not years to produce results and I don’t believe they have and real enforcement power, they just generate data.

          • kbiel

            The CPSC can order mandatory recalls. I do not know what enforcement mechanisms are behind that beyond civil or criminal prosecution through the DoJ. They can investigate independently, but I do not know if they can subpoena without the DoJ filing a case.

            We seem to have come together on understanding though. The original point I made is that this article by Andrew Orr made a statement that was not supported by the linked article. All I saw in the linked WSJ article (the link is now replaced, hmmm) is that the CPSC commissioner whined that Samsung did not work through them, but decided to recall the product on their own.

  • bitterseed

    Also, the 7 wasn’t that much thinner than the 5 and wasn’t rushed as they come out yearly. Why not wait until they RELEASE something before more speculation? Oh yeah. You got me to click. Ad revenue. Nice. I’m sure they’ll figure it out with the help of the folks they’ve given phones too. Other articles have said several labs have been given batches of the 7 to help figure it out. Independent verification and all that. sheesh. It’s been like 2 weeks.