Popular phone retailer Samsung has been the subject of a much negative press lately, given that their flagship phone series, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has been reported to have a tendency to explode. This specific model has been very popular among users and was poised to overtake Apple's iPhone in popularity. Instead, the retailer has been met with problem after problem. The phone itself has even been banned on planes, with TSA citing a fire risk.
The company was forced to enact a recall of all of its newest models earlier this year and promised replacements to customers affected. Samsung has also called for a worldwide safety shut off for persons who have the device. This means no charging and no use. For the millions of owners who purchased the phone outright, this is a severe inconvenience.
The Cause Behind The Explosions
Like many modern electronic devices, Samsung's phones rely on lithium ion batteries to hold a charge and remain powered-on throughout the course of the day. These batteries are in nearly every phone, laptop, handheld gaming system, and electronic cigarette. The most common cause for these batteries to catch fire or explode is a rapid overheating. When a lithium ion battery charges, as power cycles through the battery, the temperature will rise within the battery. The quicker a battery charges, the more heat will build up. For this reason, most batteries contain an element that actually slows the charging process. Without this element functioning properly, batteries are much more likely to catch fire or even explode. Most of the time, products that contain these batteries must go through a rigorous screening process, after all, one wouldn't expect their laptop or phone to simply catch fire or explode.
Samsung is now facing a class-action lawsuit over their products. A California law firm is the first of what is likely to be many lawsuits regarding these devices. The class that the suit takes on consists of everyone who has purchased a Samsung device in the state of California within the past four years. The lawsuit also names a few other Samsung devices as fire hazards, as well. The other devices named contained similar batteries to those used in the latest Note 7 model, some of which have even more powerful batteries, which could potentially lead to greater hazards if they contained the same flaw as the Note 7's battery failures. While the lawsuit still only in its early stages, it is likely that a case this large may take some time before any settlement is reached. However, given Samsung's recent poor history with the Note 7, they may experience enough pressure to facilitate settlement discussions.
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