Samsung recently suffered from its worst nightmare. A failure that quite literally went up in smoke. On October 9th, Samsung officially suspended production of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 featured exciting improvements with its S-pen technology, iris scans to unlock the phone, biometrics, and more, but all of these new developments were overlooked due to the combustible nature of their new batteries. With an empire as large as Samsung, the biggest question of all remains: How did it happen?
Battery Tests & Testing Standards
The smartphone industry is required to test batteries at Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) laboratories before rolling out any new product to the market. However, since 2009, Samsung has begun using their own labs instead of third parties for CTIA certification.
Samsung uses self-tested batteries in order to prevent proprietary information from leaking out and to protect trade secrets. Additionally, having an in-house laboratory saves more time in terms of introducing new smartphones to the market. Because the product life cycle for phones has been getting faster and faster, is it possible something was overlooked? The CTIA tests mainly focus on whether batteries operate safely when charging and placing calls, but is this even enough?
When asked, Samsung, stated that it plans to make “significant changes” in their quality assurance system. Does it mean that their quality assurance criteria didn’t meet these basic standards or were the standards itself too general or perhaps both? Beyond this point, will the CTIA let manufacturers have in-house testing anymore?
Samsung’s debacle has brought more questions about battery testing and safety than ever before. The entire industry’s battery testing standard can take a swift turn once Samsung reveals more details behind this crisis.