On Tuesday, the South Korean electronics giant finally pulled the plug on the production of Galaxy Note 7 in what could be one of the biggest product safety failures in recent memory. Samsung’s drastic decision came amidst recent reports saying that the replacement devices they’ve shipped to consumers were blowing up much like the original ones, which prompted fresh safety warnings from phone carriers, airlines, and regulators alike.
Early in September, the company announced the recall of 2.5 million Note 7 devices after several reports surfaced indicating that the gadget was prone to catching fire. In fact, Samsung received at least 92 reports of overheating Galaxy Note 7 batteries in the U.S.A. alone, with 26 resulting in burns and another 55 causing property damage. These reports were posted by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, who is now working on a potential second recall of the Note 7 replacements.
In the face of such humiliating news, the South Korean manufacturer offered its consumers that it will exchange Note 7s for replacement products or other similar Samsung mobile phones or even refund them. At the same time, Samsung engineers initially cited faulty batteries from one of its suppliers as the cause of Galaxy Note 7’s spontaneous combustion.
However, as the company shipped replacement devices containing new batteries from a different supplier, reports circulated that even the replacements themselves were blowing up. As it turns out, their initial investigation of the exploding Note 7s was far from reaching a definitive conclusion.
From there, the company had asked global carriers and retail partners to stop the selling as well as processing replacements for its flagship model while it worked with regulators to find out what caused the devices to explode. By then, it was too late as Apple just released the iPhone 7 and Google was already hinting of launching its own premium smartphone line.
Although Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was initially received with critical acclaim by tech pundits during its August launch, it had all been a downward spiral from there. Despite being considered as the premier rival to Apple’s iPhone 7, news of the marquee device’s high risk for explosion had put Samsung in hot waters with safety regulators, investors, and consumers, who all have come to question the company’s trustworthiness.
To make matters worse, the Seoul-based firm has yet to identify the real cause of the fires in the replacement devices as none of its engineers have been able to replicate the problem with Galaxy Note 7s. “The problem seems to be far more complex,” Park Chul-wan, a former director at the Korea Electronics Technology Institute said about the Note 7 fiasco in a phone interview.
“The Note 7 had more features and was more complex than any other phone manufactured. In a race to surpass iPhone, Samsung seems to have packed it with so much innovation [that] it became uncontrollable,” he concluded.