It's already yesterday's news, but the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco will definitely continue to send secondary ripples through the smartphone industry in the coming months. A lot of ink and fire-extinguishing liquid have been spilled on this handset already, but rest assured that each and every author here at PhoneArena has their own opinion about the way Samsung handled things. Actually, here are some of our thoughts on the matter.
The tombstone for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 should read "Here lies a lost opportunity.
" Remember the excitement when the Galaxy Note 7 first launched? Samsung was on a roll and would have made 2016 an incredible year had the Galaxy Note 7 not failed. This should have been 2016's phone of the year as it combined a fabulously sleek design with amazing capabilities. But it was not to be. Now, the company is going to take a big financial hit and it will have to go back to "start" to build up the Samsung brand among smartphone buyers.
Would things have been different if Samsung employed a third party lab to test the battery, as is customary in the industry? We will never know. But all smartphone manufacturers should come away learning a huge lesson. No matter how big a company is, or how much their handsets are loved by consumers, every manufacturer is just one failed device away from losing everything it has worked hard to achieve over many years. No company is immune to this, even Apple.
In a typical chaebol business culture fashion, Samsung tried to go its own way with the first recall, but ultimately went through the due process, and re-released the phone in just three weeks time. The second recall was handled by the book, but the sheer fact that it had to be recalled again speaks volumes about the lack of intracompany communication and robust quality assurance procedures that don't prioritize production deadlines.
We still don't know what exactly happened with the Note 7, and Samsung, as well as the relevant federal agancies are still investigating, so it remains to be seen how Samsung will ultimately react to the dramatic impact of the recalls. It looks like Android users still have a lot of goodwill when it comes to Samsung, as the only company that stands tall against Apple, so how the Note 7 recall goes down in history will depend precisely on how Samsung will proceed from now on.
To paraphrase 2Pac: "All eyes on Samsung".
Shortly after Samsung made the official announcement that they would be completely discontinuing the Galaxy Note 7, I wrote an opinion piece titled "The Galaxy Note 7 debacle has caused me to lose complete faith in Samsung." As the title suggests, the entire issue surrounding the Note 7 really did turn me off from the company. I've never been a die-hard fan of the company, but they do create quality products and some of the best Android handsets on the market. While the fact that Note 7 handsets were potentially putting people's lives in danger, the biggest and more serious issue for me lies with how Samsung handled the whole situation.
No manufacturer ever hopes of having to go through something like Samsung did with the Note 7, but nonetheless, they should be prepared to properly handle and effectively take care of such a situation. The fact that Samsung dropped the ball so hard with the recall process and not being able to figure out just why their phones were exploding is the real issue in my eyes.
Samsung is one of the largest tech companies in our world, and there're no two ways around the fact that they really did screw the pooch with the way that they handled the entirety of this situation. Although I don't anticipate something like this happening again with their future handsets, what happened isn't really something you can just brush off and move on with. It's something that really does cause you to reconsider the validity and stability of a company as a whole.
Samsung's breakneck pace of firing (no pun intended) products onto the market the moment they are deemed technically "ready" finally caught up to them and the company's flagship product crashed and burned the moment it took off. The Note 7 fiasco is the result of negligence and manic productivity schedules so typical of large, overly resourceful corporations.
It's easy to present the cynical opinion that Samsung got what was coming to them, but in the end, it's really the customers that took the short end of the stick with all the explosions, stress, and awkward recall procedures. Samsung is known for listening to its customers, but its post-sales relationship with them is in dire need of improvement. Moreover, the company's inability to identify the cause of the defect is worrying and does nothing to inspire confidence, as it certainly comes unexpected of the world's biggest smartphone maker who also enjoys the privilege of tightly controlling its hardware building and supply process.
Many will focus on Samsung's desire to push the technology as the main issue in this mess, but the relatively small number of defective phones -- although very troubling -- isn't the real issue. The far bigger issue is how slowly and poorly Samsung responded to the whole ordeal. Samsung was hesitant to order a full recall, rushed out a replacement that was still defective, and top executives have been nearly silent the entire time. Even now, we still don't know exactly why the phones were exploding or catching fire aside from it being related to the battery.
Any other company with a safety issue like this comes out and engages the public to allay fears and prove the company cares more about its customers than anything else. Samsung failed that test. Samsung will undoubtedly build new devices in the future that are safe, but after seeing how Samsung handled this mess, why should customers trust them again?
First of all, I'm happy that nobody got seriously hurt because of Samsung's failure at providing adequate quality control. Secondly, it is great that the Note 7 fiasco was covered extensively by the media, as it should serve as a lesson to all tech companies - rushing a product is never a good idea. Thirdly, I expect the event to boost the development of new battery technologies, as an alternative to Li-Ion cells seems overdue by now. And as for Samsung, they'll be fine. I just hope they regain people's trust with quality, well-developed products, not with an increased marketing budget.
The damage is done, but I personally believe that if anything, Samsung will definitely learn from its mistakes. Its next major smartphone launch, which will definitely be the Galaxy S8
, must be downright impressive and impeccable if Samsung wants to remain a driving force in the smartphone industry. I believe this will indeed be the case, and if anything, it makes me genuinely excited! History shows that Samsung really raises the bar when it's "hungry
Samsung saw an opportunity to step on the gas and pull ahead of its rival this year, but what eventually happened was that it lost control and spun out. The 2016 grand prix is utterly lost for Samsung. Mistakes, even as big as releasing an exploding phone, do happen, but the biggest red flag for me was in the disgraceful way the company handled the recall process and its (lacking) support for those who had their properties damaged, or their lives threatened, by its rushed product. It's clear: Samsung has hit the big red Panic button, and is now scrambling to minimize the imminent damage posed to the company image, rather than be concerned with the long term and actually show some true care and support for its customers.
There's no denying that Samsung screwed up here, and as many have already noted, the company's mistakes went far beyond simply selling phones with such a defect, and were compounded by poor response after poor response as awareness grew of the extent of the problem. For a smartphone manufacturer of Samsung's stature, that it didn't have (or maybe worse, failed to correctly execute) a well-realized plan for reacting to a disaster of this nature and size is nothing short of embarrassing.
But now I'm most curious about what it plans to do next. Will we see Samsung back away from its big emphasis on waterproofing on recent models, a move that makes repairs especially difficult? If this were the Note 4, with its readily removable battery, the story may have played out much differently – and almost certainly with a more favorable ending for Samsung. Perhaps dialing back its handset design would be an overreaction, but given the massive scale of this blunder, I wouldn't be surprised if it's one Samsung's considering.