Exploding’ Galaxy Note 7s are result of Samsung, Apple smartphone race
Demand for smarter and smarter devices means mistakes are perhaps inevitable
If you’re a Samsung Note 7 owner, it may be your device that has gone up in smoke. For Samsung, it’s their brand (with fire damage to their share price). Pyromaniac smartphones are very, very bad for the South Korean technology giant. Less so in terms of competing with Apple, which was unlikely to surrender its No 1 spot, but more so in terms of its immediate rivals like Google, which has just launched a new range of phones. Samsung now appears to have lost faith in the Note 7 brand, and it has the Galaxy S8 due for release early next year. Those two facts, the competition from Google and from Samsung’s own brand, may explain how Samsung ended up here. The smartphone market has its own sort of ‘thermal runaway’, driven by consumers. Every year, we expect a new model, and most companies offer us two. Samsung even has two separate smartphone lines. That’s before you get into tablets and smartwatches. And we expect those phones to do a lot more - to be faster, to charge quicker, to last longer. Couple that to bewildering complex supply and manufacturing chains and it’s perhaps inevitable that mistakes will be made. The self-immolating Samsungs are the most vivid example. But you can see the rush and carelessness across the sector.
Apple’s iOS 10
It initially bricked people’s phones and for me, at least, seems to suffer from odd freezes and other bugs. They’ve been rushing out software patches to keep up. Apple has had release problems before. Remember when Steve Jobs told buyers complaining of bad reception that they were just holding their phone wrong?
But now that there’s very little to separate smartphones in terms of design and functionality, the pace and competition is even more intense. If we want well-made phones that work, or at least don’t explode, maybe we all need to cool off and not ask for a new one every year.
Samsung Note 7 crisis deepens, Apple stock sky rockets.