Samsung to Announce Note 7 Findings January 23? Here’s What to Expect


Commentary: Samsung will reportedly tell the world what made the Note 7 phone explode in the first place — and it’s the company’s chance to be open and honest about what went wrong.

Samsung is reportedly ready to tell the world on January 23 what went wrong with its flagship Galaxy Note 7, which the company recalled after some of the Note 7 phones caught fire.

Samsung did not respond to a request for comment about the announcement, although we do know that the company has been working with partners to investigate the root cause.

The recall, one of the largest in tech history, has caused Samsung embarrassment, depleted consumer trust and, importantly, led to dwindling profits. Samsung has apologized to buyers in both an open letter and full-page print ads — it even referenced the debacle at the beginning of its CES press conference earlier this month — but the company has yet to explain any details about the flaw, or what will happen next.

Whenever the announcement takes place, I expect the announcement to go something like this (and again, this is my own speculation):

  • Samsung will probably host a conference call or a live event, which it will also stream online
  • An executive will apologize for the Note 7 fires and promise that Samsung won’t repeat the same mistake
  • Samsung will explain all the methods it took to recover the units, congratulating itself on its (correct) move to voluntarily recall the device (before it was formally recalled by governments and banned on airlines)
  • The company will announce that it has recovered almost every existing Note 7 unit worldwide
  • A different executive will explain details of the investigation, including which organizations took part and how many factories and processes were examined
  • Finally, Samsung will reveal the issue that lead to the explosions (was it its aggressively thin design like some believe, or something else entirely?)
  • Samsung will not go into scientific or technical detail about what caused the fire (but it’d be cool if the company did)
  • It will announce an upgrade program for original Note 7 buyers who traded in their phone for a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge
  • The company will recommit to safe, innovative design and testing procedures (10 points for each use of “innovative”)

Now is Samsung’s opportunity to embrace something it’s rarely known for: complete transparency. It’s time for the company to show all its cards, even the bad ones, and forge a path for moving forward to spring’s regularly scheduled Galaxy S launch, before revealing a new, absolutely safe, Note 8 by the year’s end.