Samsung has announced it will unveil the results of an investigation into the exploding Note7 debacle next week but the WSJ has stolen its fire, so to speak.
According to the Journal the exhaustive investigation has concluded there were two distinct reasons for the batteries in the flagship phablets overheating to the point of immolation, attributable respectively to the two component suppliers involved, as Samsung is expected to confirm in its 23 Jan press conference.
The first, most embarrassingly, was pinned on Samsung SDI – an affiliated component manufacturer, which it seems was churning out misshapen batteries that didn’t fit properly in the device. This didn’t, apparently, dissuade the those assembling the phone from just jamming the batter in regardless and that’s all it took for sparks to fly.
Samsung promptly recalled all of the first version of Note7s and replaced them with devices bearing only batteries made by its other supplier – Amperex Technology – which had been producing batteries of a reassuringly uniform shape and size. However, in its haste to fulfil this sudden huge extra order it seems Amperex succumbed to a manufacturing screw-up of its own, resulting in even those batteries getting all hot and bothered, and Samsung concluding the whole endeavour was cursed.
On one level it’s no surprise whatsoever to hear this was all down to badly manufactured batteries, but the transformation of Amperex from an asset to a liability is noteworthy. It’s easy to imagine the pressure it was put under by hysterical Samsung execs clinging to this last chance at redemption, but in hindsight the time pressure everyone concerned was put under was disastrously counter-productive.
UPDATE – 11:00 23/1/17: Samsung has summarised the detail of its findings, which seems to have been accurately anticipated by the WSJ, in the infographic below.
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