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Samsung still has no idea why the Galaxy Note 7 turned into a bomb

Samsung made a problem worse by guessing.


Mike Wehner


Posted on Oct 24, 2016   Updated on May 25, 2021, 5:50 pm CDT

When Samsung initiated its first recall of the Galaxy Note 7—where the company began issuing replacements for defective units and handed out “safe” replacements—users were satisfied that the issue had been rectified. But when those replacement units started exploding, it became clear that the company really had no idea what the problem was. 

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Samsung still has no idea what causes the phones to burst into flames. 

Samsung’s action immediately after the initial reports of exploding phones seem to have done more harm than good. The company reportedly settled on a premature diagnosis, and believed the issue was caused by defective batteries from one supplier based on admittedly inconclusive testing. 

A lab test of some recovered Note 7s that had already exploded revealed “a protrusion” in some Note 7 batteries that came from one specific supplier. It was far from a sure bet, but Samsung hastily decided that that defect was to blame for the explosions.

Rather than issuing a formal recall, which would have prompted further investigations from the Consumer Product Safety Commission and a long and costly examination to determine the true source of the issue, Samsung bet it all on a supposed manufacturing defect and began issuing replacements. 

Despite still not knowing why the fires happen, the company allegedly has a few potential leads, including the battery being too big for the case and circuit itself. Whatever the case, if you still have one of these devices in your pocket, it’s safe to say its days are numbered. 

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*First Published: Oct 24, 2016, 1:44 pm CDT