In a significant move, Samsung has announced that it is to recall the recently-launched Samsung Galaxy Note7. Following some reports of batteries catching fire, the company decided to implement a global recall and suspend sales.
Currently it does not appear as if the issue is particularly widespread, with only 35 units reported to have suffered the fault. Although it is difficult to gauge sales volumes so soon after a product’s release, the number of devices so far identified with the issue is relatively low.
Problems with lithium-ion batteries are not confined to the Samsung Galaxy Note7. This is not even a subject that is specific to smartphones, with lithium-ion battery fires having occurred on Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Tesla Model S electric vehicles.
But despite lithium-ion battery fires being a relatively rare occurrence, the potential health and safety implications are a concern in the case of products like smartphones that are common in homes and offices throughout the world.
Lithium-ion battery explosions can potentially be caused by very tiny defects. Although companies like Samsung have processes in place to decent faults that occur during manufacturing, systems used for testing are not infallible.
There are, however, a number of potential reasons for lithium-ion batteries coming to harm, such as user-inflicted damage.
When responding to reports of battery fires, it can therefore be difficult for manufacturers to separate isolated incidents from more commonplace issues.
With the Samsung Galaxy Note7, though, there does seem to be a high-level of concern about the scale of the problem, given the actions taken by Samsung.