More information is becoming available to illuminate the disastrous Samsung Galaxy Note7 battery safety issue. The financial impact is rather staggering, with the recall and associated costs expected to add up to KRW 1 trillion ($904 million) according to the WSJ. The same source helpfully provided some technical reasons behind the fire / explosion danger presented by the Galaxy Note7 handsets.
Samsung has about 2.5 million Galaxy Note7 smartphones it wishes to recall. Interestingly the firm used different battery manufacturers to supply the cells for different world regions. In China the batteries come from Hong Kong-based Amperex Technology Ltd (part of the Japanese TDK Corp). Samsung SDI made the batteries for the rest of the world but its source cells come from either China or South Korea, before being packaged in Vietnam. Samsung SDI makes batteries for the Apple iPhone, among various other brands.
Samsung asserts that the battery explosions are nothing to do with the Note7 but are down to a flaw in the affected battery cells. Samsung Electronics handset division chief Koh Dong-jin pinpointed the issue as a flaw in the manufacturing process, resulting in the 'abnormal' coming together of negative and positive electrodes in affected cells. Koh commented that "the quality control standards in the production process may have been insufficient". Following the incident Samsung may be negotiating with a third supplier for batteries for its Note7.
According to a report on Re/Code those who stick with Samsung rather than pursue a refund will begin to get new replacement phones as early as this week. In the US customers will also get a $25 gift card / credit as a thank you. Others less keen to directly swap may exchange for a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge plus a refund of the price difference.
Samsung will have lost significant momentum due to this setback, meanwhile Apple is on the verge of launching its iPhone 7 smartphones at an event in San Francisco tomorrow.