2016 was quite a challenging year for Tech. Giant Samsung and from the look of things, the nightmare is far from over. Samsung is currently under investigation in South Korea concerning a bribery scandal, at the very center of which is embattled President Park Geun-hye and her accomplice; Choi Soon-sil. Samsung is accused of having ‘donated’ to selected non-profit foundations (backed by Choi Soon-sil) in exchange for political favors.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 7’s global recall on September 2 2016 was yet another blow to Samsung’s reputation. The Galaxy Note 7 had begun shipping around August 19 2016 but concerns began to grow after a report (on August 24 2016) that a Note 7 had exploded in South Korea. Several cases followed.
Samsung investigated the Note 7 explosions and came out with a statement which fingered one set of batteries (from one of its two suppliers) as the culprit. This however proved to be false as Note 7’s powered by the other set of batteries also spontaneously caught fire. This led to the company’s largest recall ever and termination of the Note 7’s manufacture.
Samsung engineers went back into the labs and have come out with yet another statement saying that the problem was from both sets of batteries. Samsung had reportedly analyzed thousands of Note 7’s and batteries at a facility setup for this purpose. They were able to rule out several potential causes like fast charging, wireless charging, regular charging, software and hardware issues (excluding the batteries). Industry experts don’t fully buy Samsung’s claim and the coming weeks are expected to reveal more on the mater.
Samsung is expected to launch the Galaxy Note 8 (successor to the Galaxy Note 7) sometime in March or April 2017 and there’s going to be quite a lot of attention focused on it. Samsung can’t afford another Note 7-type saga with the Note 8 as that’ll further embolden the already fierce competition. The Note 8 is rumored to pack a Qualcomm Snapdragon 830 chip (predecessor to the Snapdragon 835), a 4K display, an Edge-style screen, and an improved camera.
In response to the Note 7 disaster and the upcoming Note 8 launch, Samsung today announced new and enhanced quality assurance measures aimed at Improving product safety. The measures are:
- Samsung’s enhanced 8-Point Battery Safety Check addresses safety from the component level to the assembly and shipment of devices. Included in the check are enhanced tests (Durability Test, Visual Inspection, X-Ray Test, Disassembling Test and △OCT Test), as well as newly applied measures (Charge and Discharge Test, TVOC Test and Accelerated Usage Test).
- Samsung’s enhanced multi-layer safety measures protocol will implement strict safety standards on every element of the company’s devices including the overall design and materials used, device hardware strength and capabilities, and improved software algorithms for safer battery charging temperature, current and duration.
- Samsung formed a battery advisory group of external advisers made up of academic and research experts to ensure the company maintains a clear and objective perspective on battery safety and innovation. Members include Clare Grey, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry, University of Cambridge; Gerbrand Ceder, Ph.D., Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, UC Berkeley; Yi Cui, Ph.D., Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Stanford University; and Toru Amazutsumi, Ph.D., CEO, Amaz Techno-consultant.