In September, the first reports of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 batteries
exploding hit social media. At first, Samsung identified the issue as one
relating to the lithium polymer battery manufacturing process by Samsung
SDI, where too much tension was used in manufacturing, and offered to
repair affected phones. But several weeks later, some of the batteries in
those replacement units also exploded once they were in the hands of
customers -- causing Samsung to make the bold decision to not only recall
everything, but to cancel the entire product line.
This is every battery engineer’s nightmare. As hardware engineers
ourselves, Sam and I followed the story closely. If it was only a battery
part issue and could have been salvaged by a re-spin of the battery, why
cancel the product line and cede several quarters of revenue to
competitors? We believe that there was more in play: that there was a
fundamental problem with the design of the phone itself.