Samsung in the news these days:
Samsung: Another Smartphone Exploded and It’s Not the Galaxy Note 7 (Fortune)
The Fatal Mistake That Doomed Samsung’s Galaxy Note (Wall Street Journal)
Samsung’s Doomed Note 7 Is Shackled To The Heroic Galaxy S8 (Forbes)
Among many (many) other headlines, here is a glimpse of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 crash. A drama of worldwide and scary proportions.
We are talking about a smartphone which has been officially banned by airlines, a botched recall and exploding (again) replacements. In the end, a catastrophic time for Samsung which may sound the bell on an era when they could still compete with Apple.
The beast is now wounded and the predators are circling.
But should Samsung not have known better? Let me delve into my personal Samsung history to shed some light on battery issues.
At first was the dumbphone
My first encounter with a Samsung mobile phone dates back to a dozen years ago. At that time, not yet utterly concerned by the works to tech, I had only heard friends complaining about the low quality of batteries on their Samsung phones and the fact that they would tend to “die” easily.
That is when my father purchased his very first mobile phone. A Samsung. Keep in mind that with about no technical literacy, his mobile phone was the most basic of dumb phones and the use of it mostly limited to phone calls here and there.
Yet, even with a very reasonable usage, the battery started draining utterly fast after a few months and literally died within six. All hail dumb phones, a new one could be bought… for a price.
When smartphones die
Time to move on to my second encounter with a Samsung phone. A smartphone I actually bought in a moment of weakness – as a replacement after my iPhone 4 was stolen. I can not remember the exact model, an average one which still promised strong features.
It remained strong for a few weeks, until I had downloaded apps and started using it “at scale”. However, the most concerning feature was the heavy heating of the battery when charging it or using mobile data. Not long later, followed by sudden shutdowns and slow starts.
Until, within I think 4 months of purchase, it completely died while I was using it.
The poor thing froze, went dark and never restarted.
Second sudden death.
I will not run through another long story. My mother later bought the same model (I told her not), went through the same rollercoaster of slow system, overheating phone and sudden death.
A corporate failure
At this point, my personal experience is only similar to thousands of others. And when such similar issues occur over a lifetime, there is no way they are not documented and identified.
With a normal next step being to act on them.
This is where Samsung has failed completely. They have failed to acknowledge these issues and take actual action to correct these recurring problems.
It still is difficult to define precisely the root causes of the Galaxy Note 7 without internal data but Samsung’s past always hold clues about such a regular problem.
Not paying attention to these (enough?) seems to have led to a catastrophic outcome.
At least for Samsung. There could hardly have been any worse time for this fail than now. With Google announcing the Pixel phone, Kodak trying to rise from its ashes, LeEco entering the US market with a bang and Huawei ruling the smartphone world, good competitors are not lacking. And they will, no doubt, fill the empty seat.
Hype and unicorns
Startups now become unicorns, everyday valuations go through the roof and the tech journos put funding news on a pedestal.
However, just let go of the noise and headlines for a second. What do you get at the end of the day?
A fait amount of bullshit and not necessarily results.
Funding and valuation have become the ultimate fantasy in the startup world. But is the point of any company out there not to actually MAKE money? Companies are born and die but they share the same goal: generating revenue and creating value.
Yet, startups have been allowed to play with millions and burn them for the past 10 years while the world would not care.
The “bubble” so many are speaking about at the moment is here. Created by letting kids in at an open bar and making it a trend.
The bottom line of this trend: the hype allows the “cool” kids to get millions when the companies with a business plan do not manage to raise the few do-or-die hundreds of thousands of dollars they would need to pass the tipping point and generate revenue – and profit – out of a solid business model. Yes, most founders I know do not have time to ask you what your superpowers are as the one and only question when recruiting but are rather interested in your background, achievements and personality.
News outlets are highlighting this trends too but seemingly for the sake of it when tech “writers” keep producing pieces about funds raised at the same pace, alternating with the neighbour’s – or drinking buddy – latest “tech”/fun/random project.
The bubble is there. It is just not a financial one, just a hype one.