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Image credit: AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

Report: Samsung's Note 7 probe points blame at batteries

The company will release its investigation results on January 23rd, says Reuters.
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AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

Samsung has concluded that the Galaxy Note 7's fires and explosions were caused by battery problems, not the phone's hardware or software, Reuters reports. The information comes from "a person familiar with the matter," rather than an official source, but Samsung will reportedly release the full results from its investigation on January 23rd. To assuage nervous buyers, Samsung mobile chief Koh Dong-jin will likely also detail steps it's taking to prevent similar problems with the Galaxy S8 and other future devices.

After problems with exploding Galaxy Note 7s first surfaced, Samsung recalled 2.5 million phones and rushed to find a solution to minimize the damage. It concluded at first that the problem was with batteries from its sister company (Samsung SDI), and that phones from another supplier (ATL) were fine. However, the replacement phones soon started exploding too, leading to a full recall and, eventually, a complete withdrawal of the Galaxy Note 7 from the market.

Samsung reportedly couldn't figure out what caused the problem, even after assigning hundreds of engineers to figure it out. That led to speculation that there problems with the hardware design or software. The engineering firm Instrumental theorized that the overall design was doomed from the start, because Samsung was trying to squeeze a too-large battery into a too-slim body.

However, Samsung was finally able to replicate the fires during testing, Reuters said, and couldn't find fault with the hardware or software. It would be surprising if a battery flaw alone caused the problem, considering that the company used multiple suppliers, so we'd take this news with a grain of salt. Whatever it is, Samsung's explanation needs to satisfy a lot of folks -- government safety bodies, consumer groups and, most importantly, a very skeptical public.

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