Exploded Galaxy Note 7 China

Update: Amperex Technology Limited (ATL), the company manufacturing the batteries inside the Chinese Galaxy Note 7, has issued a statement to clarify that the reports of exploding handsets in China are not directly linked to the smartphone’s battery.

The company conducted tests in conjunction with Samsung on a smartphone from JD.com that had reportedly caught fire. Instead of a defective battery directly causing the device to catch fire, the investigation found that the phone was damaged by an external hear source, quite possibly an induction oven or a fan heater.

“According to the burn marks on the sample, we surmise that the source of the heating comes from outside the battery, and it’s very likely that there was an external factor causing the heating problem,” – ATL

It’s not clear if this was a simple accident or an act of more deliberate sabotage. Either way, the company is adamant that there’s no evidence to suggest that Galaxy Note 7 smartphones being sold in China feature similar battery issues to those that have been recalled throughout the rest of the world.

Samsung also clarified that the two devices that caught fire were not from the batch of 1,858 test devices that the company has already recalled in the country.

Original: Just as Samsung appears to be getting on top of the Galaxy Note 7 battery fiasco, new reports of exploding handsets from China are now threatening a further blow to the smartphone manufacturer’s global reputation.

Various reports in the Chinese media and a number of images online are suggesting that Galaxy Note 7s purchased from national electronics retailer Jingdong Mall are catching fire. According to the retailer itself, Samsung is carrying out an internal review of the the handset’s Chinese model following a customer report of a Note 7 battery fire. However, questions have been raised about the legitimacy of some of the images circulating online.

Worryingly, Samsung had assured consumers that the Chinese model of its latest flagship smartphone was not affected by the same battery issues as other countries. This is because the cells in these phones were not produced by Samsung SDI, but a different Chinese manufacturer – ATL.

Interestingly, Samsung later clarified that only smartphones sold in China after September 1st were not vulnerable to fires for this reason. Last week, it transpired that Samsung had recalled 1,858 Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in China that were manufactured in August and released as part of a very limited testing scheme. It’s possible that not all of these units have been returned and that some may have made their way into consumer hands, as pictures from some of the explosion reports point to an August production date.

As we also know, lithium ion batteries can very rarely succumb to defects and overheating issues that aren’t necessarily indicative of a major manufacturing fault. It’s possible that the limited number of reports from China are just the statistical faults that occur with all smartphones, and that it’s just the ongoing Note 7 saga that is drawing extra attention to the issue.

Although if Samsung does find similar faults with the Chinese model of its Note 7, further damage will undoubtedly be done to the brand as the saga will be dragged out into another month as the company may be forced into another recall.

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