Samsung still doesn’t know why its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones started exploding.
After dozens of the South Korean electronics company’s devices overheated, caught fire, or exploded dozens of times, it discontinued the ill-fated smartphone in early October.
It had first tried to solve the issue with a global recall of 2.5 million devices, but even that couldn’t fix it — forcing it to take the nuclear option and discontinue the device permanently.
And according to The Wall Street Journal, two weeks on, Samsung still hasn’t figured out why the devices malfunctioned so horrendously.
“We recognised that we did not correctly identify the issue the first time and remain committed to finding the root cause,” a spokesperson reportedly said. “Our top priority remains the safety of our customers and retrieving 100% of the Galaxy Note 7 devices in the market.”
Samsung did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Apparently Samsung first suspected an unexpected “bulge” in the batteries produced by a specific manufacturer, and based its recall around this. But its replacement devices didn’t feature this battery bulge, and dangerously malfunctioned too — leaving Samsung scrambling for answers.
There’s plenty of speculation flying around as to the cause. At the time of the initial September recall, US regulators said that Samsung believed that the battery was being “pinched” by a too-tight case. Another popular theory is that the plastic divide between the layers of the battery is being somehow punctured. A third possibility, via CNET, is that manufacturing issues means that malfunctioning devices are failing to realise when they are fully charged. But right now, we don’t know for sure.
This has all amounted to a screw-up of colossal, unprecedented proportions.
The Note 7 had initially been extremely well-reviewed, in a year when expectations for archrival Apple’s next smartphone were tepid. But then it started blowing up.
Samsung issued a global recall, but not before malfunctioning devices reportedly injured children, set cars on fire, gutted hotel rooms, and — perhaps most terrifyingly — overheated and started smoking on a US passenger plane before take-off.
Samsung estimates the recall and subsequent discontinuation of the device will cost it at least $5.3 billion (£4.3 billion).
But all this hasn’t fazed some die-hard Samsung fans, who say they intend to keep hold of their Note 7 phones — despite the explosion risk.