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Samsung's Main Task in 2017


Just like many people, Samsung has been lying low this holiday season following the obvious- Galaxy Note 7, one of its most high-profile phones, blew up in its face, suffering multiple recalls and bans by airlines.

Then there was the recall of a defective washing machine, throwing into question the safety of its entire product lineup.

Writing in CNET, Shara Tibken noted that it was “startling spiral down for a company that was riding so high after the critically lauded Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The Note 7, which won its own positive reviews, was supposed to capitalize on the momentum and put Apple back on its heels”.

Thus, for Samsung, 2017 can't come soon enough. But the very first week of the new year brings CES, which marks the first public event for the Korean electronics giant since the Note 7 debacle.

Under the bright lights of the massive gadgets exposition, it typically focuses on TVs, home appliances and other big electronics, but its phone failure is sure to be the elephant in the room.

"Even if they don't say anything, on any flight that most people would be taking into Las Vegas, they would be reminded about this issue with the hardware," said Reticle Research analyst Ross Rubin. "It will be fresh in people's minds."

Therefore, Samsung's main task in 2017 is to convince consumers to trust it again. If one of its most important devices could have fatal problems, what does that say about everything else it makes?

First on Samsung's agenda is figuring out what happened -- and communicating that openly to consumers. It originally tied the Note 7's overheating to a battery flaw, but the second recall showed it was something more.

The Company has said it's working with a third-party investigator to figure out what caused the phones' thermal problems. As of now, it still doesn't know.

You know what would be a great place to clear the air? CES, the world's largest consumer electronics show.

"Samsung has to reassure customers that it knows what happened ... and that it's taking steps to address it," Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart said. "So far, we haven't gotten that message from them."

The company, of course, may choose to ignore the issue entirely and focus on its new products. But that would be a mistake -- especially if it hasn't said something in the days before the show about what caused the Note problems.

Samsung said in a statement: "We are working to identify and address what went wrong as quickly as possible, and as part of the investigation we're re-visiting every step of our engineering, manufacturing and quality control processes, in partnership with independent third-party experts. This investigation has been thorough, and will take time. We take very seriously our responsibility to understand the core issue and once the analysis is complete, to communicate our findings transparently, definitively and quickly."