Monday, December 5, 2016

A Squeezed Design for Galaxy Note 7

A teardown by Instrumental of the Galaxy Note 7 raises questions about who designed the phone. The often-exploding phone was designed with no headroom for its battery. Some expansion space is required for any chemical battery. Without it, normal heat or minor pressure could cause a catastrophic battery failure even for a well-formed battery. The elimination of the margin of safety to make the phone 0.5 millimeter thinner according to Instrumental’s estimate, or to extend battery life by approximately 1 hour, is, at the very least, a strange decision. At worst, it gives the impression of a corporate decision in which the marketing point of view, wanting an attractive, salable product, overruled the engineering point of view, wanting the product to be safe. If so, it is not just the phone design that was being squeezed. Marketing can overrule engineering only in a company that feels it is having a very difficult time producing a competitive product and selling it at a profit. That is not the state of Samsung from what we’ve seen previously, but the company must be under more financial and market pressure than it appears.