Exploding Galaxy phones: What did Samsung know and when did they know it?

“When several Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones spontaneously exploded in August, the South Korean company went into overdrive. It urged hundreds of employees to quickly diagnose the problem,” Brian X. Chen and Choe Sang-Hun report for The New York Times. “None were able to get a phone to explode. Samsung’s engineers, on a tight deadline, initially concluded the defect was caused by faulty batteries from one of the company’s suppliers. Samsung, which announced a recall of the Note 7 devices in September, decided to continue shipping new Galaxy Note 7s containing batteries from a different supplier.”

“The solution failed. Reports soon surfaced that some of the replacement devices were blowing up too,” Chen and Sang-Hun report. “Company engineers went back to the drawing board, according to a person briefed on the test process who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the internal workings were confidential. As of this week, Samsung’s testers were still unable to reproduce the explosions.”

“By then, it was too late. On Tuesday, Samsung said it was killing the Galaxy Note 7 entirely,” Chen and Sang-Hun report. “Iit caps a nearly two-month fall for Samsung, which has taken a beating from investors, safety regulators and consumers over its trustworthiness — especially with a marquee product that was supposed to rival Apple’s iPhone. Scotching the Note 7 does not end the questions facing Samsung. It still has not disclosed what specifically caused the Note 7s to smoke and catch fire — or even whether it knows what the problem was. And the company may face questions about the safety of its other products, such as kitchen appliances and washing machines.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple invented the modern smartphone, so this is not a difficult decision at all.

Anyone who decides to buy an iPhone knockoff from a crooked South Korean dishwasher maker is obviously not the crispest lettuce in the salad.

Jeep charging a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (left) and a Jeep charing an Apple iPhone (right)
Jeep charging a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (left) and a Jeep charging an Apple iPhone (right)

 

Garage charging a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (left) and a garage charging an Apple iPhone (right)
Garage charging a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (left) and a garage charging an Apple iPhone (right)

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30 Comments

            1. Truly sad you feel the need to come on here (same troll as usual) miscreant with so little in your life and imitate regulars to get your twisted pleasures. You are one miserable little pathetic wretch of a troll who can’t be removed off the planet soon enough.

  1. The fact that they STILL don’t know what is causing the Note 7 fires/smoke/heat I think is the scariest part. Kind of cast a doubt on anything new they produce.

  2. Samsung obviously KNEW it was NOT a defective battery. They lie… Samsung initially released a software update for the phone, which limited battery charging to 60% of designed capacity, as an alternative to getting phone replaced. This was before official recall.

    How could THAT be a fix if Samsung actually believed the cause was defective batteries. A defective battery does not get fixed with a software update. The cause is (and was) obviously a DESIGN FLAW. They’re finally admitting it by throwing away the design.

    1. Exactly. Then the question is why in the world did they give their customers replacement phones when they knew those things were not safe? It completely baffles me that they could be so negligent. Maybe the reason is more soap opera-ish, and the son is trying to give the matriarch another heart attack.

  3. From the NYT article:

    Internally, Samsung’s corporate culture may also have compounded any issues. Two former Samsung employees, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation from the company, described the workplace as militaristic, with a top-down approach where orders came from people high above who did not necessarily understand how product technologies actually worked.

    “Maybe they should look harder and closer at what is happening at the management level,” said Roberta Cozza, a research director with Gartner Research, who cited the damage to Samsung’s credibility with customers as well as telecommunications carriers.

    Not an original problem. Crap management is the default in these days of short term thinking, long term disaster. ShamShite just happens to be the best at FAIL.

  4. I suspect there was some internal sabotage.

    Or perhaps an aftermarket malware virus, or such a virus was used to trigger the sabatoge.

    Most likely a software code designed so that under just the right, rare, conditions it would cause the battery to overheat.

    There are a crap-ton of Chinese phone makers that will benefit greatly from the fallout from this.

    Follow the money my friends.

    And lastly, I hope this funny .gif link works, it’s an inside look at the Samesung engineering teams search for the cause…

  5. Few companies operate for long without some sort of defects in their products coming to light. The important thing is what they do about it when a problem comes to light?

    Samsung went into a mode where they tried to conceal the nature of the problem, banned staff from communicating via e-mail so as to not leave a trail and initially trying to deny the issue. We all know how that worked out for them.

    There are also similarities with the saga of Samsung washing machines catching fire in Australia and New Zealand three or four years ago. Samsung did a recall and machines were claimed to have been fixed, but some of those repaired machines then caught fire.

    I’ve seen similar problems happen with a major Japanese electronics company. They were shipping defective video tapes, radio microphones with a design flaw and cameras with another design flaw. In each case those problems were repeatable and easily demonstrated, but the company insisted that any problem must be elsewhere. Switching to another brand solved all of those problems, but huge numbers of people in the industry saw how that company behaved and decided that it was a company that could no longer be depended on.

    I can understand why companies want to promote the impression that their brand is trustworthy, but you don’t achieve that by denying the evidence that people can see for themselves.

    If you have a brand that you want people to trust, you need to act in a trustworthy manner. I’ve been using the word ‘untrustworthy’ in connection with Samsung for many years. Initially when they ripped off Apple’s intellectual property. I then said they were untrustworthy when they cheated benchmarks for CPU performance. On multiple occasions, I’ve called them out for being untrustworthy for the obscure way they release shipping numbers for their smartphones by giving private briefings to selected analysts who then come up with their guess of the shipping numbers.

    Being untrustworthy is a long-established trait for Samsung and it comes as no surprise to see that they have attracted so much adverse publicity in such a hugely spectacular manner.

  6. You know, for a very long time Samsung has had power related issues on their products. I had a D8000 TV a few years ago and the DC inboard went bad, and started smoking. I unplugged it and it continued, had to use the fire extinguisher. Samsung actually replaced the tv after sending out a tech to evaluate it, which was surprising, but the new tv? It did the same thing in about 2 months. Rather than admit their problem they kept offering me replacements, but I turned them down. They never refunded my money in full however, which I was ok with just to get the thing out of the house, but this isn’t a new problem for them. They either have bad electrical engineers, or use really faulty parts without complete quality control. It’s terrifying that they could let something g like this get past the QC department on multiple products, and still not have isolated the root cause.

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