It was en­tirely the fault of 7’s bat­ter­ies, Sam­sung con­cludes

The Star Early Edition - - INTERNATIONAL - Hyun­joo Jin

SAM­SUNG Elec­tron­ics in­di­cated yes­ter­day that its lat­est flag­ship Galaxy S smart­phone could be de­layed as it pledged to en­hance prod­uct safety fol­low­ing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the cause of fires in its pre­mium Note 7 de­vices.

Wrap­ping up its month­s­long probe into the cause of the Note 7 de­ba­cle, the world’s top smart­phone maker said faulty bat­ter­ies from two sup­pli­ers were to blame for a prod­uct fail­ure that wiped $5.3 bil­lion (R71.86bn) off its op­er­at­ing profit.

Sam­sung mo­bile chief Koh Dong-jin said pro­ce­dures had been put in place to avoid a re­peat of the fires, as in­vestors look to the launch of the South Korean tech giant’s first pre­mium hand­set since the Note 7, the Galaxy S8, some time this year.

“The lessons of this in­ci­dent are deeply re­flected in our cul­ture and process,” Koh told the press. “Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics will be work­ing hard to re­gain con­sumer trust.”

How­ever, Koh said the Galaxy S8 would not be un­veiled at the Mo­bile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, which be­gins on Fe­bru­ary 27.

Fix it

In­vestors have been look­ing to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the Note 7 fail­ure to re­as­sure con­sumers that the com­pany is on top of the prob­lem and can be trusted to fix it. Sam­sung’s rep­u­ta­tion took a ham­mer­ing af­ter it an­nounced a re­call of fire-prone Note 7s, only for re­ports to emerge that re­place­ment de­vices also caught fire.

The hand­set, Sam­sung’s an­swer to Ap­ple’s iPhones, was with­drawn from sale in Oc­to­ber less than two months af­ter its launch, in one of the big­gest tech fail­ures in tech his­tory.

In­ves­ti­ga­tions by in­ter­nal and in­de­pen­dent ex­perts ruled out prob­lems with the Note 7’s hard­ware and soft­ware, Sam­sung said.

In­stead, man­u­fac­tur­ing and de­sign de­fects in Note 7 bat­ter­ies caused short-cir­cuit­ing, Koh said.

Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics did not name the bat­tery sup­pli­ers yes­ter­day, but pre­vi­ously iden­ti­fied them as af­fil­i­ate Sam­sung SDI Com­pany and China’s Am­perex Tech­nol­ogy. SDI said it would in­vest 150 bil­lion won (R1.73bn) to im­prove prod­uct safety and ex­pected to con­tinue to sup­ply bat­ter­ies for Sam­sung phones.

Sam­sung said it ac­cepted re­spon­si­bil­ity for ask­ing bat­tery sup­pli­ers to meet cer­tain spec­i­fi­ca­tions and did not plan to take le­gal ac­tion against them. The com­pany touted longer bat­tery life and fast charg­ing as ma­jor im­prove­ments when it launched the Note 7.

Among other mea­sures to boost safety, Sam­sung said it had im­ple­mented an eight­point bat­tery check sys­tem to avoid any such prob­lems go­ing un­no­ticed in fu­ture. – Reuters

The com­pany took re­spon­si­bil­ity for ask­ing the sup­pli­ers to meet cer­tain spec­i­fi­ca­tions

PHOTO: AP

A Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics’ Galaxy Note 7 smart­phone at the head­quar­ters of South Korean mo­bile car­rier KT in Seoul, South Korea. Prob­lems with the de­sign and man­u­fac­tur­ing of bat­ter­ies in Sam­sung’s Galaxy Note 7 smart­phones caused them to over­heat and burst into flames.

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