An SoC Tweak May Be Responsible For Galaxy Note 7 Fires

Six weeks have passed since first reports of Galaxy Note 7 phones catching fire and exploding started emerging all over the world. Since then, Samsung issued a worldwide recall and spent millions of dollars in order to handle replacements, exchanges, and refunds of its latest phablet, resumed sales... and then realized that replacement units are just as liable to combust as the original shipments. Yesterday, the company's phablet that apparently just wasn't meant to be has been officially discontinued. However, this turmoil is obviously far from over. For starters, there are still a lot of Note 7 units out in the wild so Samsung and its retail partners are going to have to spend quite a few resources in order to get them back. Secondly, there still isn't an official explanation behind this entire ordeal.

After initial Note 7 units started catching fire, it was widely believed that Samsung's battery-making division Samsung SDI is to be blamed for the incidents as the only Galaxy Note 7 models which apparently weren't exploding were those sold in China whose batteries were made by another company. However, Samsung SDI hasn't handled batteries for any of the replacement models and we all know how that turned out. So, is it possible that the Galaxy Note 7 is suffering from some major design flaw? Certainly.

In fact, that's precisely what the latest report from Financial Times is suggesting. The said outlet is theorizing that Samsung's engineers were ordered to tweak the Note 7 system-on-chip (SoC) in order to speed up the charging process of the device. Apparently, they either went too far or the phone was already pushing the very limits of what a lithium-ion battery can handle, which led to fires and explosions. It's worth noting that while announcing "safe" Galaxy Note 7 units, Samsung asserted that the battery defects which led to this entire ordeal were identified and eliminated. So, the Financial Times' theory either contradicts that statement or suggests that the Galaxy Note 7 was suffering from numerous design flaws. Will we ever know the truth? That's basically impossible to predict but one thing is sure - Samsung has a lot of work to do in order to negate the brand damaged that this fiasco did to its Galaxy lineup.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Head Editor
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016 and is the Head Editor of the site today. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]