After facing numerous problems of overheating with its batteries, which in some cases was severe enough to melt phones and cause burns and injuries to users, the Galaxy Note 7 was first recalled and then entirely discontinued by Samsung Electronics. Other than a significant financial burden, which could be as high as $5 billion, the episode was a source of great embarrassment for Samsung, since its 2016 flagship device was widely touted to be the best smartphone of the year.
And now, according to rumors, the South Korean electronics giant may be considering a third-party battery supplier for its 2017 flagship device, the Galaxy S8. The company is said to be in negotiations with domestic rival LG for the supply of batteries, according to reports that cited unidentified people familiar with the matter.
According to a report Thursday by Korea Herald, a Samsung executive told a Korean newspaper: “We are looking at diverse suppliers, including LG Chem.”
Currently, Samsung Electronics sources its batteries from Samsung SDI, another of its parent group companies, and from China’s ATL. Samsung had blamed the batteries manufactured by Samsung SDI as being responsible for the initial reports of the power sources overheating. Later reports of similar incidents confirmed a fault with the ATL-manufactured batteries as well, prompting the company to consider diversifying its battery partners.
Engineers and technicians at Samsung are still trying to identify the exact cause behind the overheating batteries, which is believed to have been a result of various diverse factors.
Rivals Samsung and LG compete in almost all segments of consumer electronics, from smartphones to televisions and home appliances, and partnerships between the two companies are rare. However, LG Innotek, an LG group company, supplies Samsung with camera modules used in some of the latter’s smartphones.
Samsung will do everything it can to ensure it gets the battery right for the Galaxy S8, since it needs to salvage its reputation that has been battered by the Note 7 recall. According to rumors, the 2017 flagship device will pack many of the features that made Note 7 an appealing phone.