Samsung Kill The Galaxy Note 7 Before It Kills Them (Or Someone Else)
Following the widely-publicised spontaneous combustion of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7, the South Korean electronics giant has officially decided to halt sales and cease production altogether.
On Tuesday, Samsung released a statement confirming that they had permanently halted both sales and production of their Galaxy Note 7 model after several reports of both original and replacement models catching fire, reports which subsequently went viral online. “For the benefit of customers’ safety, we stopped sales and exchanged of the Galaxy Note7 and have consequently decided to stop production” Samsung confirmed in their statement.“
So, we can all be agreed this this is a monumental balls up – but what does this mean for the future of Samsung and the broader smartphone market? This has several potentially damaging consequences to Samsung as a company. Principally in terms of reputation, the Galaxy Note 7 debacle will certainly have shaken consumer trust in Samsung, a factor which may cause a shift in the market share of the global smartphone market – which could see market leaders, Samsung, lose a substantial portion of their market share to Apple. Shares in Samsung took an immediate tumble following the announcement, closing on Tuesday down 8% – the largest one-day drop in share price for the company since 2008, according to Reuters – seeing an estimated $20bn wiped from the value of the organisation in one day. Ouch. Internally, this PR nightmare could be the perfect catalyst for an organisational restructuring of Samsung – the electronics giant typically announces a managerial shake-up at the end of each year; however, the short-lived Galaxy Note 7 may prompt changes across both senior management, mobile and supply chain operations divisions respectively in order to ensure that Samsung don’t allow history to repeat itself.
All the business-y stuff aside, why did the GN7 catch fire at such a rate? It’s all to do with the lithium ion battery – these are the most common type of battery used in smartphones today, looking like what is essentially a sandwich comprising of ultra-thin sheets. The tightly-spaced plates contain a gel called electrolyte. Charged particles called ions move evenly between the plates through a porous layer called a separator – it’s the movement of these ions that creates electricity. Samsung’s literal blowing up of the smartphone game was caused by a manufacturer error whereby the electrodes were placed too close together – this produced excessive heat and subsequently led to people almost getting their faces blown off. Fun!