A postscript to the Note7 debacle
MANILA, Philippines – The Samsung Galaxy Note 7's exploding battery debacle will go down in history as one of the most inopportune setbacks for a popular high-end device. Launching the handset ahead of schedule was an effort to gain momentum before rival Apple could launch the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. A valiant effort for Samsung, but also a very costly one.
A short while after its release, reports of exploding batteries plagued the company's latest phablet, and it all happened so fast that Samsung had no other choice but to address the issue as best as it could. After announcing the global recall, the Korean tech giant released an advisory discouraging Galaxy Note 7 users from even turning the device on. Airlines prohibited its use and charging during flights while the replacement program rolled out.
In the Philippines, the fixed Note7 units became available for the replacement program last Saturday, Oct 1. Samsung PH, a day before the rollout, said they had around 7,000 units available to accommodate the 6,500 current userbase of the flagship device. They also said that there will be a relaunch at an unspecified date in the future. Clearly, Samsung is sticking with the Note7 for the time being. (Read: 'Slight battery misalignment' caused Note7 explosions – Samsung PH)
The expensive phone has some great features. But what's more interesting to see in the following months is if these features are great enough to somehow help people forget the whole thing.
People probably will over time. The Note7 is a star in Samsung's roster, and so, carries an incredible amount of weight in shaping people's perception of the brand. Once an image of reliability, Samsung has their work cut out for them in terms of rebuilding it. They got off to a good start by acknowledging the mistake, keeping in close communication with consumers, and footing the bill as they should. Samsung, in some markets, has even been including gift vouchers with replacements. In the Philippines, Note7 replacements include a P1000 Samsung gift voucher.
Despite the bad press Samsung is getting and the hit on Samsung stock, the company should be given credit for its prompt and cool-headed response to the issue.
Front and center
People will remember the giant's efforts too, even if for now, they'll have to live with the nagging sense of danger when charging their smartphones. It's great that the Note7 firestorm didn't lead to an extreme disaster but there's something more important to be learned here: We need better batteries and a review of quality assurance (QA) procedures.
We've mentioned solid-state batteries in an article before. Generally, they're known to be less prone to exploding, can carry a higher max capacity, and are more efficient in transmitting energy than the standard lithium-ion batteries in phones now. They need to be tested further in real-life use, and other types may arise. But what's already known is that lithium-ion batteries have a tendency to explode. Any effort to progress from them should be exciting news to the consumer.
An article by Business Insider points to a survey that says a longer battery life is what smartphone users are demanding the most now. If there's any good to have come out of the Note7 debacle, it's that it puts the need for better consumer device batteries front and center. We need better batteries – and we need them now, for the purpose of safety and enhanced usability.
If Samsung can be first-to-market with a revolutionary battery type in future devices, well, that's certain to be a surefire way of regaining a good portion of the fanbase.
We also expect to see Samsung and the rest of the industry to reanalyze and reinforce their QA procedures for batteries. We have no basis other than our own creative speculation that the faulty manufacturing was because Samsung wanted to beat other flagship devices to market. They did or they didn't but at the end of the day, the phones weren't safe enough.
Now, if this misstep can happen to a top company, it can happen to a smaller one – and not everyone will have pockets as deep to instantly redeem itself to the paying consumer. – Rappler.com
Alexis has been a professional writer and editor since 2007 and has worked with website developers, online retailers, and medical and healthcare professionals. On the side, he dabbles in photography. His photography has been published on his Facebook page and on his blogs. You have to start somewhere, right?