Samsung's Note 7 may be no more, company 'adjusting' production

Posted Oct 10, 2016 by James Walker
Samsung is rumoured to be suspending production of its explosion-prone Galaxy Note 7. It comes amid reports that replacement devices are also bursting into flame, despite being marked as "safe." Samsung said it is "adjusting" its manufacturing.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
Jung Yeon-Je, AFP/File
This morning, the media widely reported that Samsung is temporarily halting production of the Galaxy Note 7 to give it a better handle on the critical situation. The company confirmed in a statement to the BBC that it is "adjusting" its production schedule "to ensure quality and safety matters." Industry insiders have stated Samsung is actually suspending manufacturing altogether.
Samsung started an official recall of the phone last month. Customers are able to exchange their phones for a new Note 7 or an alternative replacement device. According to Samsung, 90 percent of Note 7 owners have opted for a new Note 7. The past week has indicated Samsung may not have fixed the battery problem though, despite its assurances that replacement phones are safe and will not set alight.
There are now three confirmed incidents of replacement Galaxy Note 7 handsets catching fire while in use. Samsung has been criticised for appearing to cover-up the reports. It has since admitted it is investigating claims that new Note 7 phones are still liable to explode, saying it "will share findings as soon as possible."
In one reported incident, a Southwest Airlines flight was evacuated in Kentucky last week after a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 began emitting "popping noises" in the cabin. The phone began to smoulder and burn its casing shortly after its owner got on the plane. The handset was a replacement device.
Some U.S. mobile networks have now ceased selling the Note 7 altogether. As of today, AT&T and T-Mobile have issued "deny sale" notices through their companies that prevent new customers acquiring the phone. The networks will no longer replace returned Note 7s with a new device. Instead, the customer will be given a phone of comparable quality or a full refund.
"While Samsung investigates multiple reports of issues, T-Mobile is temporarily suspending all sales of the new Note7 and exchanges for replacement Note7 devices," said T-Mobile.
The Note 7's continued problems are now threatening to damage Samsung's brand and reputation. The South Korean company prides itself on quality and innovation, developing some of the most feature-filled phones in the industry. The Note 7 was set to be another hero device with its unique S-Pen stylus and iris recognition technology.
The battery problems are believed to have been caused by tight deadlines and the intense pressure placed on Samsung's engineers to launch the Note 7 early. It's thought the company rushed the phone to market to beat Apple's iPhone 7, seeking to capitalise on the media reports of a "disappointing" iPhone launch.
Along the way, it made a critical mistake, designing a battery bay slightly too small for the battery. As the cells expand during regular use, excess pressure gets placed on the battery terminals, causing a fire.
"Based on our investigation, we learned that there was an issue with the battery cell," Samsung said at the start of September. "An overheating of the battery cell occurred when the anode-to-cathode came into contact which is a very rare manufacturing process error."
It is currently unclear when Samsung will resume production of the Note 7, if at all. With carriers suspending sales and waves of negative press already threatening to consume the handset, Samsung could be forced to abandon what was once its most prestigious flagship device. The company may not risk the launch of another Note-branded phone next year.