It was inevitable, really, that a device like the Note 7 would be pulled from the shelves before it ever really launched.
At first, reports of some devices catching fire were treated with disdain. Maybe these people were simply victims of ‘faulty units.’
But then Samsung made a huge move, one that shook the smartphone world. They halted sales of the phone while they investigated the causes. Original unsold units were returned, the media went crazy, airlines banned the use of the Note 7 on flights, Galaxy S7’s were given out as temporary replacement phones, and then new units of the Note 7 were shipped out with a green sticker indicating they were okay to use.
Everything seemed fine, but then everything went wrong, again. Some of the replacement units caught fire and exploded, and Samsung pulled the plug on the phablet that should have been an iPhone 7 Plus-beater.
What caused the fires is still [officially] unknown, although various reports at the time hinted at a rushed process from initial concept design to final product.
It was supposed that Samsung were trying to bring out their latest Note phablet before the release of the iPhone 7/Plus, to garner some market share over Apple. They skipped the Note 6 branding, going straight from the Note 5 to the Note 7 – presumably to rival the [then-unreleased] iPhone 7 Plus more closely.
According to unconfirmed reports, as more details came out about the specs sheet of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus and how both devices would remain unchanged from a design perspective from iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, Samsung bosses rushed through more and more unique features into the Note 7 design. Among other features, this included an Iris Scanner for unlocking the device, which had never been seen before on a smartphone or phablet.
Foxconn were handling the manufacturing process – the same company responsible for building every single iPhone (as in the phrase: ‘Designed in California by Apple,’ but ‘built by Foxconn’). Not only were Foxconn contracted to Apple, but also to other companies as well.
Insider reports initially blamed the Note 7 fires on a lack of communication between Samsung and the manufacturers, and also a rushed research and development phase. As Samsung tried to be first past the post, launching a superior product before Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung rushed the whole process and ended up with a product that was dead in the water right from the start.
The Note 7 was too thin, and with so many features crammed-in, it was said that there was no room for the internal components to breathe or cool-down. This was, at least at the time, maybe the sole reason for the fires.
We may have to wait for a while for the official statement from Samsung, but on the back of reports that Samsung’s share price may have taken a hit, it’s sure that their public image hasn’t been that badly affected.
After all, no press is bad press…