Note 1: This article was first published on 12th October 2016 and continuosly updated to reflect on the ongoing Galaxy Note7 smartphone debacle and findings.
Note 2, Jan 23, 2017: Samsung has finally concluded official investigations with third-party industry expert organizations. You can find the official explanation for the Note 7's failure and how the company is taking all measures possible to prevent such an incident from ever happening again here.
The Samsung Galaxy Note7 has had a very rough start and it might go down in history as the smartphone with the shortest shelf life. We take a look at its two-month journey from the launch to its unfortunate demise. We've partitioned this story in the following broad sections:-
Even before its official announcement on 2nd August 2016, the Galaxy Note7 had appeared in numerous rumors for the prior 7 months. Three of the most prominent rumors which turned out to be accurate were the availability of only one curved model, the use of an iris scanner, and a somewhat similar design as the Galaxy S7 edge.
Samsung held the Galaxy Unpacked event in New York on 2nd August 2016 to announce the Galaxy Note7. The South Korean company skipped one generation with the naming as it wanted to align the latest Note device with its Galaxy S7 counterparts.
As its most advanced device yet, the Galaxy Note7 boasts several firsts for the company; the first dual-curved display, the first IP68-rated Galaxy Note device, and the first Samsung device to come with an iris scanner and a USB Type-C port. Here's a pictorial guide on the key features of the Galaxy Note7 and our own 1 minute video reel summing up its seven most standout characteristics:-
To showcase and allow consumers in Singapore try out the new Galaxy Note7, Samsung held a month-long roadshow at Civic Plaza, Ngee Ann City to showcase 6 different zones such as the new S Pen, live demo of the iris scanner, interactive session with the Gear Fit2 and Gear IconX and VR experiences.
Samsung started pre-orders on 3rd August, 12 noon with a registration of interest at the three local telcos, select Samsung Experience Stores and official retailers. Customers who successfully pre-ordered the Galaxy Note7 received a complimentary Samsung Galaxy Note7 Lens Kit worth $198 during collection on 19th August 2016.
M1 was the first telco to unveil the price plans for the Galaxy Note7 on 12th August , followed by StarHub on the same day and Singtel three days later. We did up a in-depth comparison to find out which telco offers the best deal.
At launch, the Galaxy Note7 shipped with Android 6.0 Marshmallow and was reportedly scheduled for an update to Android 7.0 Nougat in two to three months. Seems like there isn't a need for that now (#oops). Our review of the Galaxy Note7 covers much more if you need to know about the device, UI, performance and much more.
Caught off-guard by the overwhelming demand, Samsung faced "a global supply constraint" which resulted in the company pushing back the launches in several countries such as Malaysia and Russia.
On 19th August, customers who had successfully pre-ordered the Galaxy Note7 made their way to the respective telcos and retail stores to collect their devices.
Two weeks after the global availability of the Galaxy Note7, reports surfaced from South Korea that deliveries of the devices had been stopped to the three Korean telcos. Yonhap news agency claimed that there were "exploding" Galaxy Note7 devices and a Samsung official at that time could not confirm if there was indeed a safety concern.
Korean publication Chosun Ilbo reported that Samsung was considering a recall of the Galaxy Note7. Samsung Mobile Singapore issued a statement clarifying that a thorough investigation was underway and findings would be shared as soon as possible.
Samsung made an unprecedented decision to halt global sales of the Galaxy Note7 after its investigations revealed that there were 35 cases of the Galaxy Note7 with battery issues worldwide. It also announced a plan to replace the sold units with a brand new set in the coming weeks.