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October 11, 2016


Dipankar Mitra

I have been wondering how this happened... Li-ion batteries are, by nature, prone to being unstable, but have HW & SW mechanisms to cut off charging current if they are in the "danger zones". This is particularly true for Li-ion batteries that support "Fast Charging" with a higher current. Samsung has obviously goofed up something here. My initial thought was that someone high up in Samsung wanted to use their own subsidiary SDI for the Note-7 batteries. SDI batteries were not yet production-quality, but no one dared question the grey suited big boss in Suwon. And this, (I thought) was the reason for the exploding phone fiasco.
However, given the recent news that even replacement phones (i.e. Note-7s with non-SDI batteries) are exploding, I think there is also something amiss in the power management software. And, given that Samsung usually does "backward planning" - fix the dates of launch first, and then ask their product teams to get the phone ready - there were corners cut in battery testing.


Honestly I don't think iSheep phones will get much of a boost in sales but as stated, the other Android phone makers will gladly take up the slack. The sales of the Galaxy line would far exceed that of the Note 7 so I don't see it effecting total sales figures too much. If you are in a specific phone ecosystem, my guess is that you will probably stay in it by looking elsewhere. Huawei and Oppo will most probably gain a stronger showing but for how long is anyone's guess.

Abdul Muis


"It leaves Samsung at least in the short run with a gaping hole in its product lineup at the top, right when rival Apple has a good update to its top-line products including its phablet-size screen iPhone."

Samsung still have a couple of phablet size product, not as premium as Galaxy Note, but in the size of 5.7" & 6.0". Furthermore, the big iPhone is 5.5" in size, same size as S7Edge.

The big question is, SHOULD samsung do Galaxy Note 8? Would Note 7 problem hurting Note 8?

Abdul Muis


Qualcomm quick charge increase the voltages not amperes. This was the one that use by samsung.

(Only oppo that were crazy enough to use 4A/5V charger)


"Its quite plausible for Apple to overtake Samsung temporarily for the Christmas Quarter sales in units of smartphones sold. "

The real analysts (i.e. those with data and numbers) already forecasted that after iPhone 7 launch before Note7 disaster had started. Nice that you woke up.


Those 'real' analysts seem to believe in magic. There's no way Apple could overtake Samsung under regular circumstances without such a major screwup.

Isceald Glede

Abdul Muis:

For a given chemistry, temperature and charge state the applied voltage determines the current. Increasing the voltage increases the current. The wall wart will probably have 5V±10%, and a number of Amps written on it. This is never what actually reaches the battery. The wall wart will be a constant voltage source with a current limit. Below the current limit, the output will be about 5V. Trying to take more current causes the voltage to drop, sometimes just enough to keep the current within spec, sometimes to about 0V, with occasional pulses of a few volts that test for the short circuit causing the high current being fixed.

Between the wall wart and the battery will be a charge controller. This is a DC to DC converter that has programmable voltage and current limits. When the battery is flat (about 2.75V to 3V for Li ion) the current will be the limited to what charge controller can handle. During charging, the battery voltage will rise, which reduces the power converted to heat in the charge controller. Without that heat, the charge controller can supply more current, up to a limit defined by the size of the battery. At about 80% charge (~4V) the battery's maximum safe current falls rapidly, so the charge controller is programmed to reduce the current limit at 4V and stop charging at 4.2V. There are other safety features that stop charging when really cold, really hot, a sudden rise in temperature, if the battery voltage is below minimum or if the voltage remains constant for a suspicious amount of time.

Abdul Muis

@Isceald Glede

You're talking about NORMAL charging tech that increase the Ampere to increase charging speed like the one that use by Oppo (4A/5V) & Apple (2.4A/5V).

Qualcom Quick Charge 2.0 & Qualcom Quick Charge 3.0 use 1.5A/9V - 2A/9V and 1.5A/12V - 2A/12V. They increasing the WATT by NOT increasing the AMPERE.

Per "wertigon" Ekström


That focus in the premium segment is exactly what dooms the iPhone to a slow, ever-downward death spiral.

It's like this. As more and more of your friends opt to go for the definitely cheaper and while not as good, good enough Android phones, they will invest in the Android ecosystem. Then iPhones will start to look less and less attractive, because of small annoyances. Most app devs develop for Android first or web first today - unless they plan to make money on selling the app, or in-app purchases. Which, increasingly, fewer does.

The Apple PC ecosystem was nowhere near death in the eighties - but that was where the turning point came. They never recovered from that, and were dangerously close to folding shop. OSX and those fruit-colored iMacs saved them temporarily.

We are in the equivalent of 1985. Apple has just ceded the larger market to it's competitor. Again.


Samsung has no idea why the Note 7 keeps catching fire, NYT claims


@Abdul: You (and Qualcom) are talking about the voltage/amp going INTO the charge controller. Isceald is talking about the current/voltage the charge controller is applying to the battery. Charging was previously limited by the USB 5.0V/0.5A, ie 2.5W and has with the new USB standards been improved by increasing the current and/or voltage into the charge controller.

The constant current followed by constant voltage scheme to charge li-ion/polymer batteries has not changed. Only change is that the current in the constant current phase has been increased, presumable due to new battery technology.

Anyway the Note 7's seem to have been catching fire not only when the battery has been charged, but also under normal use (i.e. in an airplane).


Here are a few speculations of what makes these batteries catch fire.

One that sticks to my mind is that they pressed the batteries too thin to increase capacity. In some batteries, the separation, electrolyte, layers might get "squeezed" out?

Wayne Borean

@Abdul Meis

That's impossible. You are talking about magic. The voltage cannot be increased without having an impact on the amperage.

You can't fool Mother Nature.


@Wayne Brady:

"@Per - the problem with your analysis is the last 9 years have proven it wrong. Having the most profitable customers isn't just good for Apple, it's good for everyone participating in the Apple ecosystem. It's not that Android is devoid of profitable's just that the vast unit marketshare of Android is not backed up by also dominating the profitable customer market share."

And the problem with yours is that you try to apply the dynamics of an emerging market to a mature one. In an emerging market, like smartphones have been until 2014, the price pressure can be offset by increasing the performance (or whatever else is relevant) to keep the prices up.

But by now the smartphone market has left this stage. It is quickly approaching the mature state, and the sales numbers clearly reflect that change. There is nothing to gain with larger screens, there's little to gain with more RAM, and even less with more CPU performance. This means the incremental upgrades that kept high prices a viable option soon will be gone, because the form factor and realities of physics set a hard limit of what is achievable. We already see with the Note that the battery situation has also reached the limit.

So how will Apple justify their high prices as time goes by? The low price alternatives already match screen size, it won't be long until they fully match CPU performance, or RAM size, or total storage size - or even camera quality. After that it's software only - and if you consider how few apps most people use, it's mostly relegated to personal taste - but if to satisfy one's personal taste costs twice or three times as much as going with an alternative, it will strain the customer's willingness to spend.

Sorry, but Apple's business model lives or dies with the need to bring drastic improvements every second year, so it works extremely well in an emerging market with high growth. But it won't work well in a market that has mostly become an even playing field where price is the ultimate motivator for making purchasing decisions.


"Most app devs develop for Android first or web first today - unless they plan to make money on selling the app, or in-app purchases. Which, increasingly, fewer does."

This is exactly why I come to this blog: the world running on charity. Like fewer and fewer app devs planning to actually make money.
Got it.

Per "wertigon" Ekström


Apps are more and more developed to not make money but sell or improve another service. Think McDonalds promotional app. Think banking apps. Think Facebook app. And so on.

You can laugh all you want, doesn't change reality. :D


Regarding the yet-to-emerge damage to Samsung in form of lost customer trust An editorial in South Korea’s largest newspaper, the Chosun Ilbo, said: “You cannot really calculate the loss of consumer trust in money.” It said that Samsung must realize that it “didn’t take many years for Nokia to tumble from its position as the world’s top cellphone maker.”

Per "wertigon" Ekström


Apple and Microsoft in 1986 also had customers on a fairly equal footing. In 1996, not so much.

Why do you suppose that is?


No worries, this year Huawei Mate will be full Note7 ripoff:

John A

I think many of the other brands trying to take advantage of the Samsung failure with Note 7. Not just in the US market.
Just saw on TV here in Sweden that Sony run a big campaign with TV ads here in Sweden for the new Xperia XZ and X Compact.

The last time a saw a TV commercial with a Sony mobile was probably 2 or 3 years ago. So it are a interesting period. And I guess Huawei/Honor, LG and the other will trying hard to to get a boost also.

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