Samsung finally tells us what went wrong with the Note 7

Watch the 50-minute long and detailed reasoning behind Samsung’s exploding Note 7 fiasco.

Meryl D'Souza January 24, 2017

Nearly five months after Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note 7, the South Korean company finally told us – in a 50-minute presentation – what exactly went wrong with what would have been its most advanced smartphone yet.

While the exhaustive live stream was not entirely eye opening since most tech enthusiasts guessed what caused the phone explosions, it’s commendable to see Samsung owning up for its faults. Remember, we now live in a world where there are no lies. Simply, alternative facts.

Samsung’s Note 7 dilemmas were twofold. The first batch that was recalled less than a month after the launch contained a battery that was too large for its casing. That’s what caused the overheating. 

Following the recall, Samsung switched to batteries from a different supplier and scurried to create a thiner device with with a timeframe that meant getting the phone into the market before Apple launched the iPhone 7. However, that rush meant that the new Note 7 was shipped off to consumers without being thoroughly vetted.

Consequently, well, we all know what happened. The new battery had its own defect that again caused the phone to overheat and in some cases explode. This time, there was no running away. Samsung was forced to shut down production of the Note 7.

Here's an infographic Samsung made that helps explain the problems with the Note 7:

So what has Samsung done to correct its faults?

"We have examined every aspect of the device...including hardware, software, assembly, quality assurance and logistics...were reviewed in detail,” said DJ Koh, president of Samsung’s mobile business division. "To ensure that we encouraged a thorough investigation we built a large-scale charge and discharge test facility, where we were able to replicate the incidents from market and complete a detailed analysis.” 

This new facility that was built in the last 120 days is staffed with 700 researchers, 200,000 devices and 30,000 batteries in an attempt to replicate the cause of fires in the phones. The researchers – consisting of professors from the University of Cambridge, the University of California at Berkeley, and Stanford University – tested the whole device, including the role of wired and wireless charging, fast and normal charging, the USB-C charger, Iris scanner and water resistance.

One could assume that Samsung believes its future in the mobile phone sector is riding on the safety of its next device, which will be the Galaxy S8. Its launch date has already been pushed – tentatively – to April. No prizes for guessing why.