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Samsung still can’t figure out why Galaxy Note 7 phones are exploding

Published Oct 12th, 2016 7:50AM EDT
Galaxy Note 7 Fires Samsung
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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When Samsung initiated a replacement program for its explosion-prone Galaxy Note 7 a few weeks ago, it was only natural to assume that the South Korean tech giant managed to pinpoint the source of the problem and fix it. Of course, it didn’t take long before we starting seeing a stream of fresh reports involving replacement Note 7 devices catching fire and exploding as well.

Yesterday, Samsung officially discontinued the Galaxy Note 7, effectively closing a chapter on the most embarrassing and costly PR disaster in company history. What makes the entire Note 7 ordeal all the more frustrating is that Samsung engineers are still unable to replicate the problem. Consequently, Samsung still has no concrete idea as to why its initially well-received phablet turned out to be, in some instances, nothing more than a ticking time bomb.

DON’T MISS: The end of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 saga is really only the beginning

According to a new report from The New York Times, Samsung has devoted a tremendous amount of engineering resources towards figuring out the root cause of exploding Note 7 devices. The company, however, still has more questions than answers.

When the first wave of Note 7 explosions began popping up, Samsung tasked hundreds of engineers with figuring out what was going on. Unfortunately for them, they weren’t even able to replicate the issue in their labs, ultimately prompting them to assume that the problem must lie with one of Samsung’s battery suppliers.

That theory, of course, was quickly proven to be false once new reports of exploding Note 7 units emerged.

Citing sources familiar with Samsung’s efforts, the Times notes that “company engineers went back to the drawing board” but have still been “unable to reproduce the explosions” or precisely figure out what’s causing them.

With no solution in sight, the company’s hand was forced, culminating with yesterday’s decision to mercifully end Galaxy Note 7 production altogether.

“Taking our customer’s safety as our highest priority, we have decided to halt sales and production of the Galaxy Note 7,” the company said in a statement.

All that said, that’s not to say that there are no theories being floated around.

Some, for example, speculate that the source of the problem may be faulty charging circuits. Meanwhile, Twitter user arter97 points us to a Korean Agency for Technology and Standards report which claims that the problem may be due to the rounded corner design of the Galaxy Note 7.

With Samsung still unable to identify and eliminate the root cause of the problem, it stands to reason that explosion-gate, for lack of a better term, will have a detrimental and perhaps long-lasting impact on sales across the entirety of Samsung’s smartphone and tablet lineup.

On a related note, a recently published video that we covered on Tuesday provides us with a window into what it looks like when a Note 7 begins smoking spontaneously. Ironically enough, the Note 7 in the video below began smoking after the owner reportedly visited Samsung’s website.

Truth, as the old adage goes, is much stranger than fiction.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.