Samsung Tested Galaxy Note 7 Batteries In-House While Competitors Used Third-Party Labs

Samsung is unique among smartphone manufacturers in that it not only produces its own System-on-Chip (SoC) designs, such as the Exynos processor that's found in some of its handsets, but it is the only phone maker that performs its own battery tests. Unfortunately Samsung, that differentiating trait recently blew up in its face, figuratively and somewhat literally.

Overheating and exploding batteries are what led to the downfall of Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 phone. The company's internal testing revealed no problems with either the original model, which ended up being recalled, or the replacement phones that used a different battery packs but were still prone to catching fire. That's a problem for Samsung.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Before a phone can be sold at a major U.S. carrier, the batteries used in each model have to be tested at one of over two dozen labs certified by the CTIA, the wireless industry's trade group. Those labs test for compliance with certain standards set forth by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. According to the CTIA, every phone maker uses a third-party lab, except for Samsung, which conducts its battery testing in-house at its own CTIA-certified lab.

The recent Galaxy Note 7 situation is a major black eye for Samsung's ability to test batteries , as it failed to detect any problems in the original and replacement devices. Both were prone to overheating and catching fire, with multiple reports of property damage and various injuries, including burns and toxic smoke inhalation.

Samsung told The Wall Street Journal that it will be making "significant changes" in its certification process to avoid another Galaxy Note 7 scenario. Whether or not that includes using a third-party lab for future battery tests isn't known.

To date, the CTIA has certified over 1,500 batteries. Tom Sawanobori, CTO at CTIA, says this is the first time it has run into an issue. As for Samsung, it has been testing phones at its in-house lab for the past seven years. Whatever it is that went wrong with the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung's working 24/7 to figure out, the company said.