Samsung May Not Know Why the Note 7 Battery Exploded

A new report reveals the company couldn't replicate the issue.

Getty Images / Drew Angerer

Samsung shocked the tech world on Tuesday when it permanently discontinued the Note 7, its three-month-old smartphone, after two recalls and exploding battery issues. While theories have been put forward about why its phones were exploding, a new report reveals Samsung could not replicate the issue in its labs, and the world may never know for sure why the phones exploded.

The company worked with a South Korean government regulator, which produced a series of documents that claimed the Note 7’s battery design made it susceptible to short circuiting. Park Chul-wan, former director of the Center for Advanced Batteries at the Korea Electronics Technology Institute, said he saw those agency documents and spoke to Samsung’s engineers. The employees could not replicate the problem, but it should have been easy to reproduce if the battery design was to blame, Park said.

“The problem seems to be far more complex,” Park told the New York Times in a story published Tuesday. “The Note 7 had more features and was more complex than any other phone manufactured. In a race to surpass iPhone, Samsung seems to have packed it with so much innovation it became uncontrollable.”

Hundreds of employees were instructed to work on the problem, but as recently as this week, Samsung could not force a Note 7 to explode. The company has not publicly disclosed what the problem was exactly, and the evidence suggests there’s a chance the company doesn’t know.

Others have been able to make the Note 7 explode, but under extreme conditions. Mashable made one of three devices explode during an extreme stress test, placing it in front of a 1000 watt heat lamp where temperatures reached past 150 degrees:

The crisis is set to hit the company hard on its bottom line, with Bloomberg claiming the company’s profits will be cut by $2.3 billion over the issues. With such a severe financial and publicity hit, Samsung may be forced to act more cautiously in its next phone design to avoid a similar situation.