What Caused Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 Devices to Explode? Here Are 3 Leading Theories

Samsung Is Going to Brick Unreturned Galaxy Note 7 Devices Remotely with a Software Update
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Samsung may have killed off the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7 this week due to numerous reports of the device’s batteries igniting and burning up; but the interesting thing is that we’re not sure what exactly caused the explosions.

The Korean company has reportedly devoted a massive amount of effort and resources toward pinpointing the cause of the exploding Note 7 phones. But, despite the effort, none of Samsung’s engineers were able to get a Galaxy Note 7 to explode in trials, according to the New York Times. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few theories about what had happened to Samsung’s once-promising phablet.

Theory 1 – Battery

The first theory suggests faulty batteries were supplied by Samsung SDI. The batteries, which were made slightly too large for the space available, would become slightly crimped. This could obviously lead to a short circuit, causing the device to overheat and cause a fire, BGR reported.

Of course, Samsung quickly removed the faulty batteries and turned to a new supplier — the Chinese-based Amperex Technology. But replacement Galaxy Note 7 devices outfitted with the new batteries began burning up too, report said. Investigators believe that the replacement devices were plagued by a different manufacturing issue, but by that time, there was little Samsung could do, and they pulled the plug on their newest phablet, according to Bloomberg.

Theory 2 – Fast Charging

A separate but perhaps equally as likely theory is the issue with the device’s fast charging feature. Apparently, tweaks made to the phone’s processor to allow for fast charging could have caused problems with the battery. According to an unnamed source cited by the Financial Times, “if you try to charge the battery too quickly it can make it more volatile … Something had to give.”

Theory 3 – Design

Lastly, many experts have cited the Galaxy Note 7’s beautiful design as a culprit in the exploding battery fiasco. The symmetrical curves of the phone may have put too much pressure on battery packs — especially considering the inclusion of the aforementioned oversized batteries — causing them to short circuit. The placement on the isolation plates that separate the battery’s anode and cathode were also reportedly placed too close to the edges of the device, making them prone to collapsing under additional pressure placed on the batteries during the manufacturing process.

Whatever the cause may be, there’s no denying that this is one of the biggest PR disasters for any smartphone company in recent memory. Samsung, for their part, is left with nothing else to do but clean up the mess. Just yesterday, reports of Samsung sending out fireproof return kits for customers to send back their Galaxy Note 7 device hit the news circuit. On a positive note, the Note 7 disaster might prompt Samsung to take more care when designing future smartphones. It’s not the end of Samsung, and if they play their cards right, they might come out stronger.

Featured Photo: Quartz
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