After months of speculation, we finally have the official answer that comes as no surprise: it was the battery after all.
At Samsung’s press conference held in South Korea today, the Korean company tapped on the expertise of speakers from independent industry organisations UL, Exponent, and TUV Rheinland to elaborate on the lengths they've gone to to get to the bottom of the matter and their findings.
As of today, 96 per cent of the devices sold have been returned.
What caused the explosive episodes?
To find out the cause, they built a large-scale test facility to conduct their investigations. 700 Samsung engineers and researchers gathered to test 200,000 devices and over 30,000 batteries to try and replicate the problem. Aside from their own investigations into the matter, UL, Exponent, and TUV Rheinland also helped verify the claims that "batteries were found to be the cause of the Note7 incidents".
Internal short ciruits, which happens when the positive and negative electrodes come into contact, were found to have sparked the incidents. It was a combination of factors in battery design and manufacturing issues. The former includes deformation of the separator at the upper corners of the phones, thinness of the separator, and mechanical stresses while production quality like welding defects also contributed.
Samsung takes ownership for the fact that they were the ones who provided the battery specifications and it was ultimately their failure in "identify(ing) and verify(ing) the issues arising out of battery design and manufacturing process prior to the launch of the Note7".
Of course, winning consumer confidence back is Samsung's biggest priority.
To quell your fears about their future products, a "multi-layer safety measures protocol" is to be implemented at the product planning stage. On top of that, there will also be an 8-Point Battery Safety Check implemented to make sure the volatile nature of the lithium-ion battery is carefully handled.
The mood is somber. The tone is genuinely apologetic. Given the scale of the Note 7 incidents, it's safe to say that you can rest assured that Samsung will be extra careful in the future.