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Wednesday, 12 October 2016 01:11

Sad to see Galaxy Note7 end production Featured


It’s sad to see Samsung’s Galaxy Note7 beset by the problems that have caused the original and then replacement devices to explode.

With Samsung reportedly having rushed the Note7 to be available for retail sale several weeks before Apple’s iPhone 7 phones, which led to quality control issues with the batteries, we now see the outcome.

Rushed decisions and cut corners have consequences, which have now resulted in the Note7 seeing its production ended, pulled from sale, with all original and replacement Note7s now recalled.

Indeed, if for some reason you are still using a Note7, you are playing Russian roulette, and we aren’t even talking about those nefarious Russian hackers who are being blamed for a wide range of hacking cases.

If you are still using a Note7 then stop! Return it to your place of purchase, whether in store, or your telco, or Samsung itself immediately. There’s no need to take a risk – you can choose another Samsung smartphone, such as an S7 or S7 Edge, or some other brand or model of smartphone entirely.

But therein lies the rub. With no iPhone as yet offering Apple Pencil support, no Surface Phone with stylus, and only a handful of other smartphones from LG and others with official stylus support, there’s no true replacement for the Note7.

That’s from the point of view of Samsung’s Note7 having a very advanced stylus alongside a great stylus-capable UI on top of Android 6 Marshmallow.

Presumably, Samsung has made additional tweaks and improvements to its stylus UI interface for the Android 7.x update that it would be working on for the now discontinued Note7, too.

It’s obviously sad because it has endangered consumers, and has cost Samsung a lot of money, and has caused problems for people who specifically wanted the Note7 and now can’t get it.

But it’s also sad because Samsung is Apple’s fiercest competitor, despite the new Google Pixel phones, and Apple needs strong competition to keep it on its toes.

Yes, Apple notes that it says no a thousand times for every yes, and is its own best motivator, but strong competitors are great for the industry and for end-users: all of us.

It delivers better products and services, and this entire episode has left Samsung damaged, its brand tarnished.

All because Samsung rushed to market, and rushed its suppliers, leading to a rush of now well-known explosive issues that Samsung can now only recover from by halting production and recalling all Note7s.

There are legitimate cries that Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus "touch disease" issues aren’t getting the same overwhelming media scrutiny, although with reports of some iPhones also having had battery explosions (apparently due to actual physical damage to batteries), everyone’s devices are now being scrutinised much more closely.

This follows the hoverboard battery scandals from 2015 that also saw houses burn down.

But as with the hoverboard battery explosions, the world has never seen so many smartphones exploding in such a short period.

Samsung’s focus now must rest on ensuring the upcoming Galaxy S8 and Note8 models are absolutely rock-solid, with zero risk of exploding batteries, if they are going to regain public trust.

Making a TV show, uploaded to YouTube, broadcast on Netflix, the Samsung home page and everywhere else, showing the lengths to which the company is going to — or rather, is now quadrupling down on quality control — would be another way to let the public in on what happens behind the scenes in making consumer electronics and how Samsung is truly committed to the highest quality and safest possible products. 

Until then, and until the Note8, it is sad to see the Note7 go.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who reads my articles that iOS and iPhones are my preferred mobile computing environments, but I was definitely looking forward to playing with the Note7 and using its features.

For me, that was taken away when my Note7 review unit battery simply died, and wouldn’t restart, just a couple of days before reports of Note7’s starting to explode.

I guess I was one of the lucky ones – the 7 in Note7 was lucky for me!

Sadly that hasn’t been the case for everyone else who either had a Note7 explode or returned it, despite actually wanting Samsung’s Note7 device and not an S7 or other device.

So let us now look forward to Samsung reporting exactly what the series of events were that caused the issues to occur, not only in the original units but replacement units too, so that the possibility of such an episode occurring every again is minimised to to the extent that is humanly and technologically possible.

Now we wait for the future Note8. Let’s hope Samsung plays it straight so its 8 is great and charts a course as far as possible from the Note7’s fate, while running the risk Apple’s iPhone 8 has its own Pencil stylus out of the gate before that Note8 release date.

Samsung: cut no corners! Take no chances! Let deadlines slip if need be in the quest for absolute quality, rather than quantity.

Make the best phone you can make, not because you’re trying to beat Apple, but because you want to deliver to customers the best smartphone you can for them – the people that matter to you the most.

Samsung note7 sad

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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