Samsung Reveals Why the Note 7 Battery Exploded

It was due to a manufacturing defect.

Getty Images / George Frey

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 shocked the world last year when a serious manufacturing defect led to the company dramatically withdrawing the phone from sale. Samsung failed to fix the issue when it withdrew the first model and replaced it with a revised model, but on Monday, the company announced it had reached the conclusion of a long-standing investigation into the issue and discovered the cause.

“We provided the target for the battery specifications for the innovative Note 7, and we are taking responsibility for our failure to ultimately identify and verify the issues arising out of battery design and manufacturing,” D. J. Koh, head of Samsung’s mobile division, said at a press conference in Seoul on Monday. “We have taken several corrective actions to make sure this never happens again.”

The issue in the first device was caused by the electrodes in the battery coming into contact with each other and short circuiting, as the battery itself was too small. The replacement battery led to a different kind of defect, but one that ultimately led to the same result.

“We sincerely apologise for the discomfort and concern we have caused to our customers,” Koh told reporters.

It’s the end of a long and difficult investigation for Samsung. Over 300,000 batteries were tested in 20,000 Note 7 devices with 700 engineers looking into the issue. Third party organizations helped oversee the investigation to avoid any slip-ups. Ideally the high level of scrutiny will ensure the issue never arises again - the Note 7 debacle is expected to have cost the company $5.3 billion in missed profits.