Everyone expected Samsung to announce a new tablet last night at their pre-Mobile World Congress event, however the Samsung Book was completely unexpected. However what no one could have expected was that a volunteer of the environmental protection organization Green Peace would show up to the event and try and take center stage. He was quickly sighted and escorted out of the venue before he could get on stage, but it seems that the message was delivered nonetheless.
Why was Green Peace there? Blame the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. It seems that even though the product may have died a pre-mature death, the ghost of mistakes past still continues to haunt Samsung. Green Peace claims on their website that due to the battery fiasco, Samsung recalled close to 4.3 million units of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, which is a significant amount of natural (and rare) resources, energy and human effort encapsulated into a device. The organization feels that Samsung should come up with a clear plan to recycle the Note 7 instead of just discarding them. So far, Samsung has not voiced any plans or shared any insight into what it plans to do with the remaining units of the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7. Protestors gathered outside venue of the Samsung Keynote, holding up signs that stated “Reuse, recycle, rethink.”
— Greenpeace España (@greenpeace_esp) February 26, 2017
While Samsung remains mum on what they plan to do with the excess inventory of what was to be their flagship of 2016, the keynote address last night did begin on a good note. Samsung began its conference by first admitting that their complacence with the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 led to damaging the trust they had established with their customer base. David Lowes, CMO Samsung electronics Europe took to the state to talk about how the company plans to win back the trust of their customers. In a rather up-beat video, they show off the new testing facility where the company’s new phones will be tested, along with emphasizing on the fact that a new 8-point battery safety check system had been created to ensure that there wouldn’t be a repeat of the Note 7. The company has setup a battery advisory group comprising of external advisors, academics and research experts with the aim to maintain a clear and objective perspective on battery safety and innovation. According to Lowes, this is for the benefit of not just Samsung, but the industry as a whole.
— Andrew Lanxon Hoyle (@Batteryhq) February 26, 2017
While it is great to see the company take steps to acknowledge its mistake and ensure it isn’t repeated, we are still left in the aftermath of what could be considered the biggest single-point environmental disaster in tech history. While smartphones at the end of their lives generally do end up in landfills (after being stripped down to their basics), proper disposal of 4.3 million units is no easy feat. While many argue that Samsung should just replace all batteries with great care and re-ship the Note 7. This would make sense because as per a report by Motherboard of Vice, almost “500 pounds of raw minerals were required to make the phone, much of which will be lost.” Green Peace has set out with the goal of having Samsung commit to a safe and environmentally safe strategy to take care of the excess Note 7 inventory that they currently have. The company has not made suggestions of its own, except that Samsung needs to come forward with a clear, transparent strategy on how it plans to prevent an environmental travesty, and the organization does make a good, reasonable point.