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article imageSamsung tested its Note 7 batteries in-house

By James Walker     Oct 17, 2016 in Technology
With Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 now completely recalled, investigations are continuing into how the flawed device made it to consumers in the first place. It has been revealed Samsung took responsibility for the battery testing, instead of third-party labs.
The information was reported by the Wall Street Journal today. Usually, smartphone companies employ external battery testing labs to check their cells are safe. Samsung does not follow this model, choosing to ensure the integrity of its batteries itself.
Stringent standards ensure a phone's battery is safe to use. In the U.S., the specification to test against is maintained by the CTIA, now known as the Wireless Association. It takes responsibility for certifying labs as battery testing facilities. Once verified, a lab can be used to formally certify batteries as compliant with the standards for consumer use. Any phone sold by a major U.S. carrier must have a battery that's been tested by a CTIA-approved lab.
There are several such labs around the world, including facilities in the U.S. and Asia. Most smartphone manufacturers subcontract their battery testing to one of these labs. Samsung has its own in-house facility though. The lab is CTIA-certified so there's nothing inherently wrong with the company using it. However, it does increase the potential for a design flaw to be overlooked or even conflicts of interest to be introduced.
Only a handful of other companies use their own battery testing labs. Of the companies the Wall Street Journal contacted, Motorola's Lenovo and Microsoft's Nokia said they operate their own tests. Both facilities are currently in the process of being closed down. The market leaders including Apple already use third-party CTIA-certified labs.
It is thought Samsung tests its products in-house to prevent trade secrets leaking out ahead of time. The company subcontracts as little of each device as possible, building components such as the processor and storage itself using technology from its other business divisions. While there is currently no indication that Samsung's battery lab may be delivering flawed results, some experts have asked the company to publish its procedures and methodologies for scrutiny.
Eddie Forouzan, a lab owner from San Diego, told the Wall Street Journal that Samsung may have created a conflict of interest by testing its phones in house. "They have to tell us what happened," he said, urging Samsung to release details about how the batteries failed. This would enable external experts to determine whether additional safety tests should be implemented, or existing ones improved.
According to some recent reports, Samsung still hasn't got to the bottom of what's causing all the problems. The company's engineers have been unable to reproduce the problem in any lab tests since the recall began, leaving them at a loss as to what's causing the batteries to catch fire. There are multiple theories circulating online but Samsung has not yet confirmed any of them.
The Galaxy Note 7 has now been pulled from sale worldwide. Samsung is requesting every phone, whether an original or replacement device, be returned to it as soon as possible. To help appease customers who wanted the Note 7's features, Samsung has begun to backport some of its software to the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, giving customers the chance to get the Note 7's interface on other devices. Today it released an update for the older phones that includes the Note 7's always-on display mode.
More about Samsung, galaxy note 7, note 7, Smartphone, Mobile
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