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Samsung says Note 7 probe open to ‘all possibilities’

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SEOUL: Samsung on Thursday acknowledged technical problems that killed off its Galaxy Note 7 may extend beyond its battery, and vowed an ongoing probe would examine all elements of the flagship smartphone.

“We are investigating every aspect of the device including battery, hardware and software with the probe open to all possibilities,” said J.K. Shin, Samsung co-CEO and former head of its mobile unit.

“We are trying to completely figure out if there was any error on other parts…it could be a battery, or could be something else,” he said at a shareholders’ meeting in Seoul.

Samsung initially blamed a battery made by its sister firm, Samsung SDI, when it announced in September an unprecedented recall of 2.5 million Note 7s, some of which caught fire while charging.

But some of the replacements offered under the recall programme also caught fire, forcing Samsung to scrap the high-end handset altogether.

Shin said the replacements had featured batteries made by another firm — largely believed to be a Chinese battery maker ATL that produced batteries for the Note 7s sold in China.

The recall fiasco has taken a major toll on the reputation of the world’s largest smartphone maker, which saw its third-quarter operating profit plunge 30 percent from a year ago.

Shin also vowed a “complete reform” of the firm’s overall production and quality control process to ward off another crisis.

“We are trying to overhaul all of our process including quality control so that our new handset to be released next year will not have a problem like this,” he said.

“We know we must work hard to earn back your trust and we are committed to doing just that,” he told the shareholders.

Shin, 60, oversaw the firm’s stellar rise in the global smartphone market as its mobile chief from 2012 to December 2015.

He is currently in charge of long-term strategies for the firm’s overall mobile, network and computer businesses.

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