Opinion

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Recall: The Name That Wasn't Meant to Be

 
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Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Recall: The Name That Wasn't Meant to Be

Highlights

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 7 became a failure despite being a good smartphone
  • The botched Galaxy Note 7 recall will haunt Samsung for years
  • Samsung needs to cut its losses and try to move past the fiasco

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 had all the makings of a great smartphone: it was powerful, received positive reviews when it launched, had a strong marketing campaign to back it up, and was a pretty decent update over its predecessor. Except that it explodes. Even its replacement units explode.

Instead of being the iPhone 7 killer that it was supposed to be, Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has become the biggest problem the company has faced since it joined the smartphone business. The new phablet has become a problem like no other for the South Korean titan, forcing it to first recall the device and then halt sales altogether.

The irony here is that Galaxy Note 7 was supposed to be something of a prodigal son for Samsung, a weapon meant to vanquish the new iPhone models during the crucial holiday period. Instead, it tuned into a bumbling idiot who cannot stand upright on its two legs.

Galaxy Note 7 was important for more reasons than one. Not only was it a very capable smartphone, but Samsung had broken tradition while naming it. To recall, the phablet’s predecessor was named Galaxy Note 5, and the company skipped one generation while naming this year’s model. This had never happened before. The reason behind the move, you ask? Samsung had this to say: “You might be curious as to why it’s called Galaxy Note 7 instead of Galaxy Note 6. There are a couple reasons why. First, the Galaxy Note7 will complement our Galaxy S7 and S7 edge, and unify our product portfolio. Second, the Galaxy Note 7 will minimise confusion about the latest mobile technology from Samsung, and provide full alignment with Galaxy S smartphone.”

(Also see: How to Check If Your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Is Safe)

Another factor that may have come into play, though Samsung will probably never admit to it, can be that this year’s Apple smartphones are named iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. A cutting-edge new phablet with the name Galaxy Note 6 may have left the impression that it was one year behind Apple’s new smartphones. And there is no way Samsung would have let that happen.

Thus, it named the next flagship phablet the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. But even as it kept a laser-sharp focus on branding, the company seems to have faltered on the quality check front. Faulty batteries made by Samsung SDI, part of the South Korean chaebol or conglomerate, are being blamed for the whole fiasco and the phablet does not ship with SDI batteries anymore. But the damage is done.

Samsung is in no position to make inroads this holiday season, at least with Galaxy Note 7, especially since Google’s new Pixel phones are here to fill the gap for a top-end Android phone. Maybe Samsung can prop up an upgraded version of the Note 7 - perhaps with the Plus, Prime, or Neo monikers it frequently uses, and try to salvage its position. It will be an uphill task though, as the Galaxy Note 7 recall is the kind of controversy that will be associated with the name for years to come. Ironically, if the company had released the phone as Note 6 as it should have been called, a new Note 7 would’ve been music for everyone’s ears right now.

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