Samsung’s mobile division won’t be able to end the year on a high note. Despite starting well with Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco which potentially put millions of customers in danger will probably have long-term consequences for the South Korean consumer electronics manufacturer. We’ve already heard a lot of theories about what went wrong with Samsung’s latest flagship but some things still don’t make sense. As pretty much everyone already knows, after numerous reports of Galaxy Note 7 units catching fire and exploding started emerging around the world in late August and early September, Samsung issued a worldwide recall of its device. Two weeks later, the company announced that it has managed to identify the battery defect that turned the phone into a portable fire hazard and has started shipping replacement units. Unfortunately, that didn’t help.
Given how it’s widely reported that Samsung switched battery manufacturers between the first and second batch of devices, it’s reasonable to presume that Samsung SDI which handled initial batteries wasn’t at fault for Galaxy Note 7 catching fire. While we’re still waiting for an official version of the story, numerous industry experts are assessing the situation and a lot of them agree that Samsung could have handled the recall and quality assurance process much better. Phil Baker, a US-based product development expert is one of them. As Baker points out in his essay published on Tech Opinions, a large-scale manufacturing operation such as the Galaxy Note 7 one requires months of quality assurance and testing. When dealing with hundreds of thousands of units, it’s not uncommon for things to go wrong but that’s why companies conduct tests for months. Baker notes that even if we give Samsung the benefit of doubt as far as the initial Galaxy Note 7 batch is concerned, we can’t do that now because the company was obviously too eager to put the phone back on the market after the initial recall.
More specifically, Samsung claimed that it managed to identify and eliminate the defect which caused its latest flagship to explode in approximately two weeks. Baker points out that’s practically impossible considering the scale of Samsung’s manufacturing operations and speculates that the problem was likely caused by an assembly line operator error. Given how these operators are highly specialized, the smartphone manufacturing process requires thousands of them. So, if one of them was faulty or wrongly calibrated, it would realistically take a lot longer than two weeks to identify the problem, let alone make hundreds of thousands of replacement units which Samsung has done. Well, what’s done is done and we can only hope that Samsung makes up for this ordeal with a fantastic flagship in early 2017.