The Samsung that caused a (Crime) Scene

By: Arna M

The latest technological controversy is from Samsung, and may well go down in history as the biggest catastrophe of the decade, so far.

In the first days of August, Samsung, as always, optimistically introduced their newest creation, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Everything was looking good. It was their best design yet, with an elegant water resistant design, with a beautiful AMOLED screen, a fantastic camera. Every review out there complimented its features and rated the product highly.

On the 24th of August, the first report of a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 explosion was filed in South Korea. This explosion would be the first of many worldwide. With time, more such explosions occurred and the phone gained international attention in the media – but not the good kind.

On the 2nd of September, Samsung was forced to take action about the phone’s faulty battery and ended up announcing a global recall of 2.5 million phones sold, due to battery faults. The South-Korean company then began a whirlwind of recalls, investigations and, in worst cases, serious lawsuits.

On the 29th of September, a Samsung representative stated that more than 1 million Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones were being used worldwide, with a safe battery. However, 3 days later, a Southwest Airlines plane in the US was evacuated due to smoke from a Note 7 device on board. Talk about bad luck.

Finally, after 35 reported incidents, Samsung made the decision to stop all sales and shipments, and recall every single phone bought and offer compensation toward the customer’s next phone. iPhone, anyone?

After these tumultuous 2 months, the world has two big questions.

First off, what was wrong with the phone, to the extent that even supposedly “safe” replacement phones were a hazard to use? The science behind it is fairly simple.

Modern day phones use lithium ion battery packs, which are, you guessed it, highly flammable! If the thin sheet of plastic between the positive and negative side of the battery is punctured, causing it to “short-circuit”, the puncture will allow electricity to flow between the two sides. This, in turn, heats up the liquid, and if it heats up quickly enough… BOOM! Explosion.

This can possibly happen with any smartphone that uses a lithium ion battery pack, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was just very… unlucky. I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

The second question is, what is Samsung’s next move? Samsung have sent out multiple apology letters, even so far as publishing them in newspapers around the world, particularly in the US. Though this has gravely stained their previously positive reputation, the company is determined to reveal the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 in 2017. Let’s hope this one won’t cause quite such an uproar.

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