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Another Exploding Galaxy Phone Accident

Introduction

The smartphone market has got to be the hottest most cut throat and competitive high tech market in the world right now. It has been dominated by Apple with its line of iPhone products but over the last year or so Samsung has been coming in hot, getting closer and closer to taking the lead from Apple.

In fact, if one were to count all of Samsung's smartphones, because it has dozens of different models, then Samsung has actually taken the lead from Apple, in the overall smartphone market, on a global basis, although Apple still rules the roost here, in the United States where Apple customers are amongst the most loyal on the planet.

Therefore, it's shocking to hear something like a Samsung Galaxy phone exploding and injuring someone - something you would never expect from the planet's number 1 phone retailer. You would think, with all the billions Samsung takes in just from the sale of cellphones alone, they would take the precautionary measures and expected vigilance to ensure things like this will never happen, especially when Samsung is in such a do-or-die situation with the world's biggest and most powerful tech company, Apple.

Well, just recently, a Samsung Galaxy phone did just that, explode and cause injury to a human being. There is one individual whom I'm sure will never go back to Samsung ever again. But this hasn't affected just one person - this is a PR nightmare for any company, but especially so for a top dog - and a company in the news on a daily basis for its constant patent warfare against Apple and other handset makers as well. This is the very kind of thing the media latches onto when you're on top and when you're in the news on a near daily basis.

Galaxy - Crash and Burn

A young Swiss woman suffered third degree burns on her foot when a Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone, she had in her pocket, exploded, causing fairly serious injuries.

Fanny Schlatter, aged 18, no longer feels her right thigh and as one would expect, is now suing Samsung.

Newspaper, Le Matin, claims that he was working when he heard a resounding crash. “I heard a loud noise, and then I felt a strong smell, and my pants were on fire,” he told the paper. The flames spread to the girl's shoulders and colleagues were able to help put out the fire.

“I was lucky that I had my hair tied in a pony-tail and so it did not catch fire and good thing I wasn't wearing a flamable sweater,” said Ms. Fanny, who suffered severe burns. She also announced that she will sue the South Korean manufacturer of mobile phones. Well, no surprise there - but it's a relief to see Americans are not the only sue-happy people in the world.

Not that I'm against lawsuits, especially in such a case where death could have occurred and on a product that should have gone through excessive, mandatory safety testing but most likely did not due to the constant race to release the next greatest cellphone as fast as possible, before the Mighty Apple, which in this case was simply a poor decision on behalf of Samsung.

I cannot say with certainty that lack of testing by Samsung caused this explosion but looking back at other companies and products in ultra competitive industries, thought-out history would definitely suggest the culprit here was in fact a premature rush to market of a product which had not gone through sufficient product testing.

It was this type of hasty, profits first - driven, short sighted attitude which caused Ford Motors to release the Ford Pinto back in the 70's to combat the extremely popular - market stealing small cars from the likes of Toyota. Anyone who has taken a business course or has lived during those days remembers the horrifying outcome - where a slight design flaw in the rear bumper which had a protruding bolt, exposed enough where in the event of a rear end collision that bold punctured the gas tank causing fire and explosions. People died as a result of short sighted, profit led CEOs, but I'm surprised having learned such lessons in real life or in college that something like this could happen today.

I'm not certain of the details of what caused this explosion of the Galaxy phone and I doubt we'll find out the truth anytime soon as Samsung will do everything in its power to spin this unfortunate event via damage control Press Releases and then bury the truth which may include prior knowledge of such dangerous potential in their cellphones, something Ford was also aware of but chose to ignore for the sake of quick profits. It is unfortunate that we still live in such an era where CSR is not really practiced as much as just given lip service.

“When we are able to study in this particular case, we will determine exactly why this problem occurred. Want to ensure that customers conduct strict inspections of the devices we sell,” said a Samsung spokesperson, speaking to the Daily Mail.

This is not the first time an exploding Galaxy S3. In May, a Reddit user posted a photo on the internet gadget destroyed and said he heard a loud noise. Last year, an Irishman reported similar problems, but when scientists have determined that the owner had tried to dry the phone putting it in the microwave.

Conclusion

Obviously, like with the microwave event, this may turn out to be a customer's error or mistake but given this isn't the first time for a Galaxy phone to explode I'd say there's a much bigger chance that the problem was in the design or manufacturing of the Galaxy S3 phone itself. And given Samsung is located in South Korea, I don't think there is much that can be done by US attorney generals to get to the bottom of the problem.

South Korea and other Asian countries are famous for covering up for their corporation out of the sheer need to keep their corporations functioning given they don't have the comfort America enjoys, which is the luxury of having thousands of massive Multinational Corporations where if one fails or get sued it hardly makes a difference on the bottom line of the tax revenues.

- Maximilian Wilhelm

Citations


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