Archive for Samsung

Korean Smartphone Companies Duke It Out At MWC

Posted in Commentary with tags , on February 27, 2017 by itnerd

If you were wondering what could possibly reverse Samsung’s fortunes after the exploding Galaxy Note 7 debacle, wonder no longer. Today at Mobile World Congress Samsung teased the Galaxy S8 in a video:

Also making an apparence were two new tablets. One Android and one Windows. The latter is interesting as Samsung has tended to be an Android shop with brief dabbles into Tizen which is their in house OS. Though you have to ask this question. Why would Samsung come out with tablets if nobody is buying them? There’s also a new Gear VR headset with a bundled controller on deck as well for what it is worth.

So if Samsung had no phone to show off, LG showed up with one in the form of the G6. Apparently it will have a 5.7-inch screen with a 18:9 aspect ratio (instead of the 16:9 standard) and Dolby Vision HDR, which could mean better-looking images. It’s fully waterproof, and has a dual-lens camera with some nifty photo tricks, too. We’ll see if that can steal the thunder from the S8.

UPDATE: Here’s a video of the LG G6:



Samsung Plans To Sell Refurb Galaxy Note 7’s In “Emerging Markets”?

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 23, 2017 by itnerd

From the “what could possibly go wrong” file comes news that Samsung is planning on selling their prone to explode Galaxy Note 7 in emerging markets according to according to Hankyung [Google Translate]. Here’s the one change that will be made to deal with that exploding thing:

According to Samsung, Samsung Electronics will release Galaxy Note 7 with a low-capacity battery as early as June this year.

So they’re going to put a smaller battery in it. Apparently it is not only physically smaller, but it will have less capacity. Hopefully the combination of the two will keep these phones from exploding.

Good luck with that.

They’re allegedly selling these phones into Vietnam and India in hopes of recouping some of the 7 trillion won (or roughly $6 billion USD) that they lost because of this exploding phone fiasco. Assuming that this is true of course because Samsung claims that it’s not true… Sort of:

In a statement to Gadgets 360, a Samsung India spokesperson said, “The report on Samsung planning to sell refurbished Galaxy Note 7 smartphone[s] in India is incorrect.”

Hmmm…. There’s no mention of selling the phones in Vietnam which is what the original report mentions. Thus this still is well within the realm of plausibility.

My two cents goes something like this: If this is true, I really have a problem with Samsung taking these phones and selling them in emerging markets. It’s as if “emerging markets” are less worthy then places like Canada or the US. Thus the optics of this suck and so do the ethics of this. Assuming this is all true of course. So watch this space to find out if this is true or not. And what the fall out might be.


Samsung Chief Busted For Bribes

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 17, 2017 by itnerd

I mentioned that this was likely to happen a month ago and now it has. Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong has been arrested an part of a influence-peddling scandal that reaches to the highest levels of the South Korean government. Reuters has the details:

The special prosecutor’s office accuses Lee of bribing a close friend of President Park Geun-hye to gain government favors related to leadership succession at the conglomerate. It said on Friday it will indict him on charges including bribery, embezzlement, hiding assets overseas and perjury.

The 48-year-old Lee, scion of the country’s richest family, was taken into custody at the Seoul Detention Centre early on Friday after waiting there overnight for the decision. He was being held in a single cell with a TV and desk, a jail official said.

Lee is a suspect in an influence-peddling scandal that led parliament to impeach Park in December, a decision that if upheld by the Constitutional Court would make her the country’s first democratically elected leader forced from office.

Samsung and Lee have denied wrongdoing in the case.

The cops have 10 days to actually indict him or seek an extension. Thus this is a story that is likely to evolve over the next few days. But the optics for Samsung have to suck becuase now exploding phones are not their only problem.

You Can’t Make This Up: Fire In Samsung Plant Caused By Faulty Batteries

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 8, 2017 by itnerd

This Samsung faulty battery story is like a zombie. It just won’t die. This was highlighted by a “minor” fire that required a response by 110 firefighters and 19 trucks to a factory operated by Samsung SDI. They supplied batteries for the infamous Galaxy Note 7. Apparently, this was the cause:

The fire was contained to a part of the site used for waste processing, including faulty batteries. There were no casualties or significant impact on the operations of the plant, although the local fire department was called, said a Samsung SDI spokesperson.

Samsung Serves Up Details On Note 7 Fiasco

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 23, 2017 by itnerd

At a press conference today, Samsung served up the details on what factors were behind the Note 7 disaster that involved phones catching fire and exploding right left and center. With the help of two independent testing labs, Samsung built a large-scale test facility to automate different charging and discharging scenarios. They also looked at logistics and other factors. The results were: 

  • The original Note 7 battery had a design flaw in the top-right corner that was liable to short-circuit.
  • Batteries in replacement units were prone to combustion because of a welding defect.

  • Some handsets were also missing insulation tape.

Here’s an infographic on what Samsung found in detail:


Samsung said it was introducing an 8-point Battery Safety Check that includes additional inspection, testing and training. In addition, it explained that more space would be allowed around the batteries in its handsets to protect them from impact-related failures, and Samsung said it would take steps to improve its battery diagnostic and controller software.


Oh Noes! A Samsung Galaxy G5 Caught Fire In Toronto

Posted in Commentary with tags on January 18, 2017 by itnerd

If you thought the story of Samsung phones catching fire was over and done with, think again. The CBC is reporting that a Samsung phone caught fire in his bedroom. But it wasn’t the infamous Galaxy Note 7. It was the G5:

Mario Jakab went to bed around midnight on Tuesday, and woke up from the heat and firework-like sounds coming from his bedside table.

“I jumped out of bed, alerted my girlfriend because I wasn’t sure if anything was going to catch fire,” said Jakab. “I waited for the fire to go out, because I’m not touching a flame.”

Samsung has recalled batteries on the Galaxy Note 7 models, after the devices started catching fire. The S5 model is not included in the recall. This appears to be one of the first reports of an S5 catching fire, though a lawsuit filed in the U.S. alleges the exploding phone problem extends to several other smartphones.

Samsung sent out an engineer to see the remains of the phone. They didn’t respond to CBC’s request for a comment. Even before we know what the cause of this is, the optics suck for Samsung as it will likely be perceived by those who read this that they have a systemic problem with all their phones. Now that might be true, but it could also be a single phone with an issue. After all, this sort of thing happens to the odd iPhone. But I will point out that  I covered exploding Samsung smartphones twice in 2013 and 2014. So this isn’t new. Thus Samsung needs to explain this before this becomes a bigger problem.

Verizon Going To Extreme Measures To Stop Galaxy Note 7 Use

Posted in Commentary with tags , on January 17, 2017 by itnerd

I guess Verizon really doesn’t want anyone using the infamous Galaxy Note 7 on their network. I say that because they told Fortune that they’re going to do the following to make sure the Galaxy Note 7 is gone forever:

  • Calls placed on remaining Galaxy Note 7 devices will only connect to Verizon’s customer service representatives. 911 calls are excluded.
  • Verizon may charge customers for the full cost of the device as they have already issued refunds.

This is on top of Verizon sending updated firmware that was meant to remote kill the device. Apparently customers have been dodging that. I honestly don’t get why people want to hang on to this phone. After all, it blows up and injures people. So just give it up if you have one. Seriously.