Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Recall May Trace Back To A Race To Beat iPhone 7

Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 with S-Pen removed Fionna Agomuoh

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was recalled one month to the day after its official debut, which may trace back to a desire to outdo rival Apple with its 2016 flagship, according to Bloomberg.

The publication claims that Samsung saw this particular launch cycle as an opportunity, not only to beat the iPhone to market, but also to outdo Apple’s smartphone with high-tech features. A rushed development cycle and overworked staff may have lead to the malfunctions present in original Galaxy Note 7 models.

Samsung has followed a strategy in recent years of releasing devices as quickly as possible. Reports indicated prior to the launch of the Galaxy S7 in March that the manufacturer introduced a new development method called “Agile.” The process entailed different tasks of development being completed quickly and simultaneously, and immediately tested, instead of being completed then tested one after the other, as in the previous process. Agile was expected to shorten Samsung’s product development periods by one to two months.

While it is not confirmed whether Samsung used this development process for the Galaxy Note 7, executives have spoken about the company’s effort to speed up the design process. “Normally our design reviews are done with sketches and renderings. For the Note 7 we communicated through rapid prototypes,” Samsung Senior Designer Hong Yeo told iDigitalTimes in August, prior to the Galaxy Note 7 launch.

Rumors of Samsung’s earliest product launch to date surfaced in May and were ultimately true, as the Galaxy Note 7 was announced 11 days earlier than the previous Galaxy Note 5. The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was announced Aug. 2 in New York City, with executives showcasing its features, including an iris scanner, an updated S-Pen, water resistance, and a new shiny blue color option, among others. However, numerous claims of exploding handsets forced Samsung to initiate a “voluntary replacement” on Sept. 2 and an official recall on Sept. 16.

Initial investigations discovered a defect in Galaxy Note 7 handsets, which made the separator between electrodes thinner than normal and susceptible to catching fire when devices got too hot while being charged. Upon the official announcement of recall by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, CPSC Chairman, Elliot Kaye stated that the 3,500mAh housed within the Galaxy Note 7 was too large for its chassis, which then lead to the malfunction, according to Bloomberg.

While analysts call the Galaxy Note 7 flaw a “mistake” in a rush to beat Apple, Samsung employees have supposedly called the incident “humiliating.”

Samsung has declined to comment about Apple’s influences in its decision to launch the Galaxy Note 7 earlier than it has in the past, only stating, “Timing of any new mobile product launch is determined by the Mobile business division based on the proper completion of the development process and the readiness of the product for the market.”

Reports indicate Samsung has switched battery suppliers, from the Samsung SDI subsidiary to Amperex Technology Limited . Samsung America President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Baxter stated Friday that new handsets currently being shipped have been certified as safe by an independent party.

New Galaxy Note 7 models are expected to ship no later than Sept. 21 in the U.S. and Sept. 28 in Korea. Consumers still in possession of the recalled Galaxy Note 7 are urged to power down the device and return it for exchange or refund.

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