Samsung needs to demonstrate full transparency on this Note 7 fire issue

Dear mobile gods,

Please let this be the last time I type the words “Samsung”, “Note”, and “Fire” in the same article.


So now that the Note 7 is dead and buried, there are a few things we need to talk about to clear the air. First and foremost, if you haven’t returned your Note 7 yet, do it. Do it as soon as humanly possible. Don’t hold out. This is not a historic phone, or a rare icon that will be treasured for decades to come. It’s a phone. Get your money back, and get that ticking time bomb off your desk.

Don’t tell me you’ll keep it powered off. Do you realize how bad things have to be for an OEM to shut everything down? We’re not sure keeping the phone off will even work. It’s not a certainty that 100% of Note 7’s will explode. In fact, it’s probably not even 1%. But still, there is no reason to risk anything happening. Because, to be frank, we don’t even really know why the phones are blowing up to begin with.

galaxy-note-7-boom1Why is the question

And at the end of the day, that’s the biggest problem, isn’t it? No one knows why these darn things are catching on fire. Which should make Samsung’s mission clear. Find out. It’s not a trivial task. One of the most troublesome issues to resolve are the intermittent one – especially the ones that end in catastrophic failure.

But people have rolled out every theory – the batteries were wrong, or defective, or compressed. The microprocessors failed causing overheating. Oh wait, the batteries were fine. Maybe the fans ran out of fluid, and yes that last one was a joke. Whatever the case, no one knows why these batteries are failing so spectacularly or so often. And that’s the crux of the problem. How do we know it won’t happen again? The Galaxy S8 is coming, and at this point, I’m not sure who can actually recommend buying one regardless of what Samsung brings. Put simply – those who don’t know their history or doomed to repeat it.

Find it

So Samsung’s one job right now is to point to something, or a series of somethings and say “This is why, and we’ll never do it again.” Otherwise, Samsung is in a hole, and it’s not getting out. Samsung needs to have technicians in hazmat suits lined up in warehouses studying these phones around the clock to find the point of failure. Then it needs to be completely transparent about what the problem was, and what it will do to prevent this from happening in the future.

Yes, this is completely amplified because it’s Samsung. Sorry about that, but the biggest smartphone OEM on the planet needs to do some serious damage control right now, both literally and figuratively. Because Samsung can quickly find itself losing favor of its fans if it can’t, you know, not put dangerous items in its users’ hands. I know. Crazy concept.

galaxy-note-7-review-stand-spenNo small feat

And the really crappy part is, this is not going to be easy. There is a lot of work to do here yet, and answers may not be easily forthcoming. After all, Samsung thought it had the problem licked once, so it turned it battery icons green and started shipping again. Turns out that wasn’t the problem after all, and we’re back to square one.

So what now? We just sit and wait. And I’ll likely have to write the words “Note” and “Fire” into at least one more article – when Samsung does come forward with the solution. But until then, we have to let Samsung wrap its collective head around this issue and come up with an answer. There has to be an answer.

Because if there’s isn’t, Samsung is in real trouble. There cannot be any trust in the OEM for its next flagship if it cannot resolve this problem. This doesn’t go away. Maybe that makes Samsung a victim of its own success, but there it is. Samsung has handled this Note 7 fire issue pretty ok to this point – a few minor fumbles here or there – but it ended up in the right place. Now that it’s here, it needs to keep going and cross the finish line. Don’t let us down Samsung. Total transparency. Anything less is a dumpster fire – both literally and figuratively.

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About The Author
Adam Doud
Adam joined the tech world after watching Jon Rubenstein demo the most epic phone ever at CES 2009. He is webOS enthusiast, Windows Phone fan, and Android skeptic. He loves the outdoors, is an avid Geocacher, Cubs/Blackhawks fan, and family man living in Sweet Home Chicago, where he STILL hosts monthly webOS meetups (Don’t call it a comeback!). He can be found tweeting all things tech as @DeadTechnology, or chi-town sports at @oneminutecubs. Read more about Adam Doud!