Samsung is reported to have rushed the decision to launch the first recall of the Galaxy Note 7 based on incomplete evidence, a move which proved to be the crucial mistake that led to the death of the once promising smartphone.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, after there were incidents wherein Galaxy Note 7 units caught fire, the company's executives debated their response. According to sources, while some were skeptical that the incidents were more than isolated cases, some executives thought that Samsung should act quickly.
A lab report then showed that some of the faulty Galaxy Note 7 smartphones showed bulging batteries in X-ray and CT scans. The batteries came from Samsung SDI, an affiliate of the company, with batteries coming from another supplier not featuring the same protrusion.
The evidence was considered incomplete, as there was still no explanation on what caused the bulges and if they were indeed the cause of the exploding Galaxy Note 7. However, amid the public outcry for answers, newly appointed head of mobile D.J.Koh decided to pull the trigger on a recall for 2.5 million units of the smartphone, a move that was supported by Lee Jae-yong, the third-generation heir apparent of the conglomerate.
Samsung then sent out replacement units that contained batteries from the other supplier. These supposedly safe devices, however, still caught fire, which eventually led to Samsung's decision to stop production and halt sales of the Galaxy Note 7.
As the company works to get all Galaxy Note 7 units out of the hands of consumers, Samsung is still locked in its investigation on what was causing the explosions. To this day, the company has not arrived at a definite answer on the cause of the exploding batteries, a problem that has delayed the development of Samsung's next flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S8, by a couple of weeks.
Samsung attempted to control the damage it did with its early recall decision and shipping out of replacement units by deciding to pull the plug on the Galaxy Note 7, but by then, the image of the Galaxy Note brand had been smashed to oblivion. Analysts have questioned whether Samsung would be able to revive the Galaxy Note name, with suggestions that the company should instead retire the brand and focus on the Galaxy S line.
If Samsung held off on making the announcement to recall the Galaxy Note 7 until it got to the bottom of the issue, would things have turned out better for the company and consumers? We may never know for sure, but what we do know is that the rushed decision to ship out supposedly safe replacement units spelled doom for the Galaxy Note 7.