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Recall Hasn't Fixed Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 Problems


As far as we know the number of Galaxy Note 7s that have suffered problems as a result of faulty batteries numbers in the low hundreds. The damage to Samsung's reputation just keeps building though and the Samsung brand has suddenly become toxic. Even people who should know better are lumping all of Samsung's phones into the 'fire risk' category and that mud is starting to stick.

From airlines telling users of all Samsung phones that they must be powered off during flight, to the whispering rumours that even exchanged Note 7s are a fire risk, Samsung users are finding times tough. Even those who have exchanged their Notes (and the majority of Note 7 owners appear to have chosen this option) can't be 100% certain in their phones whilst stories of exchanged Notes combusting on planes appear.

For almost any other mobile company this would be a terminal disaster. As in pack up the marketing department, throw out the design teams and turn off the lights, because there's point in carrying on. Samsung is currently only one of two companies strong enough to beat this kind of negative publicity.

So how does it move forward and get through this mess now? At the moment it doesn't even have a reliable method of repatriating the potentially faulty devices because of concerns about shipping what could potentially be a large lithium-ion bomb. That's a PR nightmare that's going to endure for a significant period of time. Remember that the press, technical and otherwise, leans towards Apple so an opportunity to kick its rival is going to be too good to pass up. And that kicking will continue pretty much ad infinitum.

When the Galaxy S8 arrives I'm sure that the Note 7 saga will be brought up... are you going to trust your new Samsung phone not to burn your house down whilst its charging?

With things as they are there's no hope of recovering the Note 7 line. Samsung should refund every user still waiting for an exchange and do everything possible to get the Note 7 out of circulation. Refurbishing handsets and reselling them - I'd guess a current Samsung plan - should be dismissed.

I suspect its next step should be to buy a smaller brand like HTC or Alcatel and start selling some devices under a new name. Even creating a new premium brand might be a consideration. A Lexus to Samsung's Toyota.

Next year's Galaxy S8 needs to have absolute attention to detail in all respects of design and manufacturing. Another lapse would not be recoverable. It also needs to come in three distinct models - an S8, S8 Edge and an S8 Pen (or similar). I don't believe that a new Note will ever achieve the success that the Note 7 seemed destined to achieve.

With Apple lined up to do something ground-breaking next year and Google's new Pixel aimed squarely into the heart of Samsung's territory, following a normal release schedule isn't a viable strategy.

Because although Samsung's brand is big enough to survive a smartphone scandal, that doesn't mean it will survive unless the company is prepared to make the tough decisions.

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