Motorola says it would have noticed the Note 7 battery issue at an early stage. It's a statement that's part propping up their own internal process for battery testing and perhaps part shining the spotlight on Samsung's previous process that was in place before the Galaxy Note 7 devices reportedly started catching fire, which caused Samsung to recall all devices and stop selling it before moving to a new eight-point safety check to ensure that batteries would be safe for all future devices.
While no one can dispute that Samsung has taken the issues with the Galaxy Note 7 very seriously and that it certainly cares about the safety of its customers, Motorola's Russ Gyenes has reportedly questioned why Samsung wasn't doing the eight-point safety check before. This was in response to being asked about the new testing methods. Gyenes also stated that Motorola hasn't made any changes to its own testing after Samsung's issues with the Galaxy Note 7 caused it to change how it tests batteries and devices. This is an interesting detail when you consider that other companies began to look into their own processes for manufacturing following the Galaxy Note 7 problems, as they wanted to be sure that no issues arose.
As for why Gyenes is so confident that Motorola would have been able to catch these issues before they became a problem for consumers, it boils down to when Motorola begins looking for battery defects. According to Gyenes, Motorola starts this process before batteries are mass produced, looking at batteries from the individual cell construction level. On top of this, Motorola makes its battery manufacturer partners pass an audit that contains a total of 118 different questions on it and there's no room for error, as Motorola doesn't allow a passing grade on this audit unless all questions are correct. Even if Gyenes' statements are bold, they're not necessarily unfounded. They raise good questions about companies being vigilant with making product safety more of a priority, something which Motorola is highlighting that its already been doing, but what Samsung is also doing with its own products now with a higher standard than before.