Earlier this year, Samsung launched the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge- two premium beauties that finally threatened to take the winds off Apple's sails. Not only did Samsung bring back the revered MicroSD slot, it also made the phones look so beautiful that Android phone users thought that they could finally own phones that not only beat contemporary iPhones spec-to-spec but also on the looks front. Quarterly figures indicated that the two new phones had indeed established Samsung as the global smartphone superpower.
Samsung Galaxy S8 may launch early to cover Note 7 debacle
Then came the time to land the final blow on Apple- a killer punch for which Samsung was readying its ultimate phablet- the Galaxy Note 7. A few months ago, leaked images started trickling in, revealing Apple's iPhone 7 and 7 Plus handsets would look the same as existing ones and the only changes people would be able to see will be incremental software upgrades. For Samsung, the news couldn't have been sweeter.
Samsung ensured that the Galaxy Note 7 would be as pretty as it was powerful. The company introduced all the new features that had previously appealed to customers- curved edges, Super AMOLED display, Dual pixel cameras, an easy-to-use stylus, a MicroSD slot and for the first time among Samsung phones, a USB Type-C charging port. To add to these, the company introduced its most powerful armament- an impressive 3,500 mAh battery designed by Samsung SDI which was 500 mAh stronger than the one in the Galaxy Note 5.
According to Bloomberg, the batteries performed well during testing conducted both by Samsung's employees as well as operators. However, once the handsets reached the streets, they started exploding at an alarming rate. The totally unexpected chain of events forced Samsung to initially roll out a software upgrade, then initiate an exchange programme and finally recall all Galaxy Note 7 handsets sold worldwide. The recall programme apparently cost the company $2 billion, but was in sync with the company's mission to win back the trust of customers and not to compromise on quality.
But compromise they did when they shifted the initial launch date of the Galaxy Note 7 from September to mid-August and then to August 3. Bloomberg says that Samsung's employees worked overtime and slept at their desks to save time and to ensure that the phablets could reach the world a month before Apple's iPhone 7 Plus did. It also adds that suppliers were put under intense pressure as Samsung changed the specs of the upcoming phablet time and again. We believe a lack of initial planning and too much haste resulted in batteries not working too well with the final version of the handsets.
After the battery fiasco became too much for the company to handle, the Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission stated that batteries in Galaxy Note 7 handsets short-circuited as they were too big for their compartments and the lack of space caused undue pressure during charging. Samsung has since changed the battery vendor and is installing new batteries in fresh Note 7 handsets but such an error can hardly ever be expected from a seasoned phone maker like Samsung.
Got a Samsung Galaxy Note 7? What not to do & how to return it
A report from the Korean Herald last week claimed that Samsung may launch the Galaxy S8 and S8 Edge devices ahead of their scheduled launch dates to perk up sales and to cover the losses incurred during the ongoing global recall of Galaxy Note 7 handsets . The company has reportedly suffered a loss of $10 billion in its market value ever since the issue of faulty battery cells in Note 7 handsets came to light.
An early launch of the Galaxy S8 and S8 Edge phones may also give Samsung a head start over the likes of LG, Huawei and HTC who are also expected to launch their next-gen flagship phones at Mobile World Congress. Reportedly, Samsung is planning on sweetening its Galaxy S8 offering by including a new accessory named the Gear 360 Pro, a modified version of the Gear 360 camera which launched earlier this year along with Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones.
While the Galaxy S8 and S8 Edge are expected to be better than the much-lauded Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones which were launched earlier this year, Samsung's decision to launch them prematurely may result in the same fiasco as what happened with the Galaxy Note 7. If the company truly wishes to offer the best products and win the trust of its consumers, it would be wise for it to test its products well and not take any decisions in haste. At least not now.