The South Korean government and Samsung launch separate probes to identify what caused Galaxy Note 7 handhelds to catch fire.

South Korean officials tasked the Korea Testing Laboratory (KTL) with pinpointing the cause behind the issue that ignited one of the worst PR storms in Samsung's history. KTL's investigation began last Oct. 13, Thursday, government officials familiar with the probe detail to the Yonhap news agency.

Moreover, according to the same officials, KTL will not center the investigation on just the batteries but will also scrutinize the whole device by leveraging the latest technologies it has access to, such as computerized tomography and X-rays.

Alongside the state-run laboratory, Samsung will also launch its own investigation regarding the problem that had it issue back-to-back recalls and caused plenty of customers to turn away from the brand.

"We have handed over the phones (that caught fire) to KTL and will cooperate with their investigation, but we can't just sit and wait for its result," a Samsung Electronics official tells Yonhap. "We have been mobilizing all possible resources to find the exact cause of the problems as soon as possible."

To date, Samsung has already issued two recalls for the said handhelds — one for the defective original Galaxy Note 7 and another for replacement Note 7 units, which also turned out to be defective. However, the phone maker is yet to give specifics and elaborate on earlier statement that points to battery-cell issues as the culprit for the handhelds that caught fire.

Moreover, the replacement units that were fitted a different battery also caught fire. This recent development puts in question what Samsung missed on its first investigation and whether the battery is really the problem. Samsung halted sales of the Galaxy Note 7 with its issuance of the second recall.

Prior to the Note 7 issue surfacing, Samsung Electronics forecasted a $6.7 billion profit for Q3 2016. After the first recall, the profit forecast was cut down to $4.6 billion. Samsung estimates that it will continue to lose roughly $3 billion in profit for the next couple of quarters.

It doesn't take a genius to realize that Samsung needs to restore the public's trust and regain the customer base it lost. Finding out exactly what caused the Note 7 to catch fire and properly addressing it will be a good start. Samsung will need all the good publicity it can gather prior to the Galaxy S8 coming out.

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