By adaptive - January 30th, 2017
The results as to why Samsung Galaxy Note 7s combusted around the globe are in, and it’s not pretty for Samsung. Andrew Tolve reports.
In the news
Samsung looked to turn a new leaf in 2017 by revealing exactly why things went so wrong in 2016. Remember the whole burning battery debacle that set Galaxy Note 7s aflame on airplanes and in offices, pockets and purses around the globe? Samsung completed its internal review last week and found that a pair of faults led to the costly global recalls. The first fault was a manufacturing error in the battery that bent the negative electrode too close to the positive electrode, which led to short circuiting in some phones. After the initial recall, a separate manufacturing defect cropped up, this time a burr on the positive electrode that poked through the insulating tape and again collided with the negative electrode. Two very sloppy mistakes that led to an estimated $9.5 billion in lost sales and a whopping $26 billion in lost market value. With the review complete, Samsung apologized to its customers and said that it’s excited to re-earn their confidence in 2017. The Samsung Galaxy S8 is due out in March, shortly after Mobile World Congress, and if rumors are to be believed is likely to wow customers with an iris scanner and an edge-to-edge infinity display. As to their flammability, we’ll have to wait and see.
In the money
Want to know where your kid is at all times? Startup Jiobit completed a $3 million round of seed funding for its location tracker that clips to a child’s clothes, backpack or bag. There are other location trackers on the market, but Jiobit is the first that offers pinpoint accuracy indoors as well as outdoors, meaning that parents can easily track where there kids go running off to in museums, candy stores, malls, etc. Parents can set a geofence on the device and get constant updates via alerts on their smartphones.
Samsung’s $8-billion bid for connected car supplier Harman may be on the rocks, thanks to a class action lawsuit by Harman shareholders claiming that the company’s CEO and board undervalued the company. US hedge fund Atlantic Investment Management, which owns 2.3% of Harman, is also against the deal. The fact that Samsung was mired in controversy in 2016 hasn’t helped quell concerns, nor has the latest news that Jay Y. Lee, Samsung’s second in line, was under investigation last week for potentially bribing the South Korean government. The charges were cleared, but Harman shareholder unease has not.
Things aren’t looking much better for Verizon’s proposed $4.8 billion takeover of Yahoo’s online business. Recall that it took Yahoo eons to attract bidders for its business, and once it finally lured in Verizon, news dropped of a massive security breach that exposed millions of Yahoo customers’ private data. Verizon badly needs a boost on the mobile front, but it’s now worried that Yahoo might prove a poisoned chalice. Yahoo announced that the deal has been further delayed at least three months.
In other news
Facebook is taking a stand against fake news in the wake of Donald Trump’s stunning election win, which some believe stemmed from the preponderance of made-up news on the world’s biggest social media site. Moving forward, Facebook’s Trending feature will only highlight stories that a number of credible publishers are reporting on, rather than simply spotlighting stories that are getting a lot of views. To Clinton supporters, this sounds like too little too late. To Trump supporters, it reads like sour grapes.
Messenger, one of the last ad-free bastions on Facebook, may be about to lose its standing. Facebook announced that it’s piloting ads on the messaging service in Thailand and Australia. The ads appear as big thumbnail images, along with text and links, right below your row of active friends and family.
Mobile World Congress is just a month away, and speculation is swirling about the world’s biggest phone show. HTC is rumored to have a new flagship on the way, the HTC 11 with a curved screen and 8 gigs of RAM. The LG GS, Sony Xperia X2 and Huawei P10 are also expected. Samsung dropped a few jaws when it announced that it would not debut the Galaxy S8 at the show, and Xiaomi dropped a few more when it announced that it’s passing on the show altogether.
Apple’s got iPhone problems. The volume of production was down 11.5% in 2016, according to market research firm TrendForce, while global smartphone production volume for 2016 grew 4.7%. Apple is still solidly in second place behind Samsung with 15.3% of global market share, but its lack of innovation in recent generations of the iPhone has third place contender Huawei thinking the once unthinkable.
Finally, own a Ford or Lincoln vehicle manufactured in the last six years? You just scored yourself 4G Wifi. Ford announced a new dongle called SmartLink that plugs into the OBDII port and delivers a Wifi hotspot that supports up to eight mobile devices, along with smartphone-based remote start, vehicle health and security alerts and vehicle location assistance. Ford built SmartLink in collaboration with Delphi Automotive and Verizon Telematics for the device. SmartLink will be available at Ford and Lincoln dealerships this summer.
The Mobile Digest is a biweekly lowdown on the world of mobile, combining Open Mobile Media analysis with information from industry press releases.
Andrew Tolve is a regular contributor to Open Mobile Media.