Two more Note 7s have exploded — Samsung’s phablet may be done for good

Twenty one years ago, at the Samsung plant in Gumi, Korea, Chairman Lee gathered over 2,000 defective cell phones, and lit them all on fire. It was a defining moment in Samsung history, a chapter that taught its employees a valuable lesson, one they can recite by heart: “Never compromise on quality”.

Today, Samsung phones are ablaze once again, threatening to take seven years of hard work in getting customers’ trust around the Galaxy brand with it. It has already left a permanent mark on the Note 7 name: the chemical burn on the carpet of a Southwest 14-year old Boeing 737 that was evacuated at the gate four days ago, left by a supposedly “safe” unit.

In the days since, two more Note 7s have a caught fire: one in Wisconsin, the other in Taiwan. It’s time for Samsung to admit it’s botched the Note 7’s internal design, it’s botched the recall, and it’s certainly botched its communication. When your phone brand is specifically being called out in pre-departure announcements, you know something is badly wrong.

And batteries certainly don’t get better with age. Samsung’s own experience should’ve taught it this: three years ago, it had to deal with a battery replacement program for original batch Galaxy S4 batteries after they became prone to swelling up. The exploding Note 7s may not get any better as they age: the only way that the frequency of reports of explosion to decrease, is for an increasing number of customers to have dumped their phone, fearing for their safety.

That, would be Samsung’s worst nightmare. It’s spent seven years building its name in the mobile industry around the Galaxy brand, and for its users to abandon it in droves, and not come back, it would be the very definition of a flop. The Note 7 is a phenomenal product on paper: maybe the best Samsung has ever made, but it seems that its fatal flaw may not just be within the battery manufacturing, but that the safety of the battery may have to had been compromised to be able to fit a 3500 mAh battery into a body that small. It was too good to be true.

This goes without saying, but if you have a Note 7, no matter how much you like it, stop using it now. Turn it off, and if you live in a country where you can exchange it for another Samsung product, get the S7 Edge. No, it doesn’t have an iris scanner or an S Pen, but it probably won’t blow up when you sleep either.