Samsung announced the
findings of its investigation into the Galaxy Note 7 today. It told reporters that two distinct battery flaws allowed both original and replacement handsets to short circuit, igniting fires within the battery compartment.
The Note 7, released last August, is thought to have suffered the issues because Samsung rushed development to beat Apple's September iPhone launch. The company is shifting its production schedules on future devices to allow it more time, confirming the Galaxy S8 will not arrive in February.
Samsung has repeatedly used the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona as its stage for Galaxy S-series launches. DJ Koh, the company's President of its Mobile Communications Business, today told Reuters
this will not be the case in 2017 but analysts expect a launch before the end of April.
After suffering a loss of reputation with the Note 7, Samsung will need the S8 to be a standout device. Investors have expressed concern that consumers may be reluctant to purchase future Samsung devices. After the company's botched recall and subsequent discontinuation of the Note 7, many people have lost trust in the brand.
To surmount this challenge, the company is thought to be planning a series of headline features for the S8
that offer customers something new from their phone. Artificial intelligence is said to play a major role. Samsung is developing its own digital assistant based on technology it acquired from
Viv Labs. Named Bixby, it will offer assistance across Samsung's customised Android OS.
The S8 will also usher in a radical new design that will see Samsung's distinctive physical home button replaced with software keys. The fingerprint sensor will be embedded beneath the display, leaving the handset's front resembling a single sheet of glass. In a potentially controversial move, Samsung will remove the
headphone jack too, following Apple's lead with the iPhone 7.
Features will only go so far to mending Samsung's image though. The company has also announced a new
set of quality assurance procedures to convince customers its phones are safe to use. Its 8-Point Battery Safety Check is designed to prevent a repeat of the Note 7 from ever occurring again, including a wide range of stress tests and simulations to identify potential problems before they appear in consumer devices.
As the first Samsung flagship phone to be launched since the Note 7, the S8 will need to perform well in the hands of customers. Without a flawless launch, people may not accept Samsung's Note 7 apology, causing lasting harm to its brand. Analysts are cautiously optimistic that the S8 will be sufficient to restore faith in Samsung. The extra few months of development will help it add consumer appeal and verify it's not a fire hazard.