Opinion

The Galaxy Note 7 recall has nothing to do with removable batteries

If you frequent any Samsung user discussions, there are three items of great importance to some long-time customers: 1) microSD card slot, 2) IR blaster, and 3) removable batteries. Sure, the microSD card slot and IR blaster seem to be the more important priorities for many who value them above all else (fortunately, I do not fit in this category), but the removable battery does have its fan base.

Samsung fanboys are looked upon in a negative light, but microSD card fanboys, IR blaster fanboys, and removable battery fanboys are even worse than the Samsung kind: after all, they make these issues of such importance that they’ll only buy from OEMs that supply these (as if to say that nothing else matters). They’ll jump from one OEM to another, provided that these three items are kept alive.

The Galaxy Note 7 recall has brought to light an issue that matters most to removable battery fanboys: that is, the cells within Samsung’s batteries that, by the way, are sealed within its 2016 “Galaxies.” Now, I’ve heard of begging the question being a fallacy, but the removable battery fanboys take this fallacy to a whole new level.

The issue with the Galaxy Note 7, as the removable battery fanboys will tell you, is the battery. To them, Samsung has “shot itself in the foot” by shipping phones with sealed batteries. “If Samsung would go back to giving removable batteries, this problem would’ve been avoided,” removable battery fanboys say. Yet, this response shows more of their fanboyism and bias to outdated battery tech than a proper answer to a pressing issue.

While the battery is the issue, the overarching issue is that the battery itself is faulty – not whether or not the battery is removable. Faulty batteries and removable batteries are two different issues. Though both could overlap, there is no evidence to consider the possibility.

The batteries being shipped in the Galaxy Note 7 are faulty (at least some of them are; Samsung has never said that all the currently-shipped phones have faulty batteries, though mass hysteria can never be contained, unfortunately). The batteries are faulty because of issues within the battery itself. Nothing has been said to confirm that Samsung’s “sealing” the battery itself, or the battery and the phone together, are causing the conflict that is resulting in explosions worldwide. The issue has been found within the battery cells, an issue that mandates using a different, non-faulty battery that doesn’t suffer from the same defect.

This is the issue, but removable battery fanboys are switching topics, throwing out the real issue and planting a smokescreen from a different discussion. The topic concerns the batteries being defective, but removable battery fanboys want to get you off topic because they still can’t accept that removable batteries are going the way of the dodo and that, contrary to what they like, the old way of battery charging has been replaced with newer, more sophisticated methods of doing so.

Instead of discussing the topic and agreeing that a replacement battery is needed, the removable battery fanboys would like to take this time to sell you on their way of doing things: just return removable batteries, they say, and all of this would never have happened. It seems to be nothing more than a political ploy to push their anti-sealed battery agenda once again.

But, as always, there’s a problem with this logic: If Samsung did go back to removable batteries (which, in my view, would be a step backward, not forward), the explosions could still have occurred. The reason concerns the fact that, if a battery batch is bad, taking one bad battery out and putting a new bad battery in will lead to the same result.

Removable “defective” batteries would be no better in my given scenario than “defective” sealed batteries. If a battery is faulty, it will still show signs – whether it can be replaced or not. And even in the case of good batteries that are both sealed and removable, explosions have still been known to occur. Science says that batteries and chemicals, when encountering heat and warming in a handset, can have the same effect as a lit stack of dynamite.

I understand that removable battery fanboys want a feature back that matters to them, and I understand their frustration with the current crop of most high-end Android smartphones because the removable battery trend is dying out quickly. However, I think that the claims made against Samsung fanboys such as “they don’t think,” “they’re clueless,” etc., are met equally with even more erroneous comments made in Galaxy Note 7 recall discussions such as “the issue is that the battery isn’t removable.”

In issues regarding phone explosions, companies like Samsung need to have both the phone and the battery back to examine the exact nature or cause of the problem. So, even if there’d been removable batteries that exploded, Samsung would still mandate that the phones be returned to examine them closely and provide some details on its own investigation. No, in the end, removable batteries would not have prevented the Galaxy Note 7 recall.

Now, removable battery fanboys believe that battery issues can be replaced by making the battery removable, allowing users to swap out batteries when they need to. Yes, this is a convenience, as some see it, but others think that wireless charging is a far more convenient option that doesn’t mandate charging a second battery, only to turn around and swap it for the dead one that mandates recharging.

What removable battery fanboys can’t wrap their minds around is that there are many consumers who just don’t care about removable batteries and live in a world where there are other more convenient charging options. Batteries are also becoming more and more durable, and fast charging now allows users to get 50% battery back in as little as 30 minutes. Many smartphones were still needing 3 hours to charge up just a few years ago; now, in as little as 90 minutes or half the time, smartphones are going from 0 to 100%.

Yes, removable batteries can take you from 0 to 100 in seconds – provided that the battery is charged. A number of removable battery advocates assume that removable batteries remove barriers and create convenience, but you must still charge the battery in either 1) a charging system or 2) a smartphone. In other words, you’re bound to a charging system or have to charge the phone as though you don’t have a removable battery. What’s the point of boasting about a feature when it requires you to either carry a charging system or forces you to charge the battery in a smartphone as if it didn’t exist? Virtual advantages are only advantages in theory – not practice.

The Galaxy Note 7 recall debacle has shown us Samsung’s ability to come forward as a truly mature tech company and admit its mistake with a promise to make things right – an act that shows a company unafraid to tackle the issue head-on – but it’s also shown us that removable battery fanboys are just as blinded by their love of removable batteries as they claim Samsung fanboys are by Samsung. It turns out that, though they don’t want you to know, removable battery fanboys, IR blaster fanboys, and microSD card slot fanboys are out there; and the truth is that there’s a fanboy of some sort in all of us.

The Galaxy Note 7 recall debacle has nothing to do with removable batteries, but removable battery fanboys are like the kid in class that says the same answer for every question: hoping the answer fits for at least 1 question, but finding it doesn’t work for any. Looking to removable battery fanboys for the right answer to the Note 7 recall debacle will get you nowhere.

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