Mobility News

Samsung Says Battery Issues Did Cause Galaxy Note 7 Fires, New Safety Measures Are In Place

Kyle Alspach

Samsung Electronics said that two separate battery issues were responsible for causing some Galaxy Note 7 smartphones to short circuit and catch fire last year, and the company has implemented new safety procedures to prevent future problems.

Meanwhile, Samsung executive D.J. Koh told Reuters that the company won't release the next Galaxy smartphone, the Galaxy S8, as expected at the Mobile World Congress in February. Koh said Samsung will be putting extra attention into ensuring the Galaxy S8 doesn't have safety defects. He didn't provide new timing for the Galaxy S8 launch.

The 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 7, which originally launched on Aug. 19 in the U.S., was prone to catching fire in both its original and replacement versions. The company halted production of the phone in mid-October after selling 2.5 million units.

The incidents have delivered a hit to the South Korean company's reputation in the market and cost the company at least $5 billion in direct losses.

At PaRaBaL, an enterprise mobility solutions provider based in Baltimore, CEO Peter Coddington said Samsung is "too big" and popular to not recover from the incidents with the Note 7.

"I think they'll come back, I really do," Coddington told CRN. "I don't think it's going to hurt their market position … I think their biggest problem will be they'll be the butt of a joke."

Samsung said it tested 200,000 Galaxy Note 7 phones as part of its investigation, which also included probes from independent firms.

Two different manufacturers supplied batteries to the Galaxy Note 7, and the investigations found that batteries from both suppliers contained defects.

The so-called "Battery A" suffered from design flaws including defective electrode separators, which caused positive and negative electrodes to touch each other, leading to a short circuit in some phones.

"Battery B"— the battery Samsung switched to for the replacement versions of the Note 7—suffered from welding defects that occurred during manufacturing, which also led to short circuiting in some phones.

Samsung said it has now instituted an "8-Point Battery Safety Check" for future smartphone releases that will aim to identify the types of issues that affected the Note 7.

The company is "committed to earning the trust of our customers through innovation that redefines what is possible in safety," Koh said in a statement.

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