Thwap-thwap-thwap-thwap. Wheeeeeeee! Thwap-thwap-thwap-thwap. Wheeeeeeee. I jam bright orange earplugs in my ears, but that only muffles the painful ringing. Two minutes later, my stomach lurches as the 11-passenger AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter soars over Seoul's skyscrapers and heads south. Our destination is Gumi, South Korea, about 140 miles away. I've traveled nearly 6,000 miles from San Francisco to get there, the site of one of Samsung's nine factories building phones and tablets. I'm among the first reporters to get an inside look at the company's flagship Galaxy S8 -- making its debut Wednesday in New York -- and to tour a facility that's testing the phone.
Samsung isn't throwing open its doors because it's feeling generous, It's trying to salvage both its reputation and consumer trust after dozens of videos, photographs and reports last year showed the Galaxy Note 7 bursting into flames, Samsung identified the battery as the culprit and -- less than a month after the Note dual layer case for apple iphone x and xs - peony 7's high-profile, mid-August release -- recalled the nearly 2.5 million units on the market, And then it happened again, Some of the "safer" replacement phones went up in smoke, too..
Samsung knew it had messed up. Badly. So after two recalls, the company killed the Note 7 in October 2016. The debacle cost Samsung an estimated $17 billion in sales. It also cost it the lead in the global smartphone market, with Apple leapfrogging Samsung in the fourth quarter of 2016 to become the world's biggest smartphone vendor. (The last time Apple held the lead was in 2014 when it introduced its first big-screen phones, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.). "It was an eye-opening experience," Koh Dong-jin (better known as D.J. Koh), head of Samsung's mobile business, tells me from Samsung's sprawling Digital City campus in Suwon, about 21 miles outside of Seoul.
"Afterward, I set up a principle: Meaningful innovation should keep going where we can make our dual layer case for apple iphone x and xs - peony customers happy continuously, But on top of it all, keep as a top priority customer safety," Koh says the day before my helicopter flight, "I strongly believe I can bring our customers' trust back."Which is where my visit to South Korea comes in, The Galaxy S8 could be Samsung's single most important product, Ever, The slab of metal and glass with a 5.8-inch display (6.2 inches for the S8 Plus) has to perform flawlessly with nary a whiff of smoke, while wowing consumers with its sleek new screen and advanced features, including a digital voice assistant named Bixby, If the S8 delivers, Samsung just might pull off one the biggest comebacks in corporate history, regain consumers' trust and vault past archrival Apple ahead of the 10th anniversary iPhone -- expected to be a doozy -- later this year..
"The Galaxy S8 was always [going to be] a big deal, but after the Note 7, it puts more pressure on Samsung," says Neil Mawston, an analyst with market research firm Strategy Analytics. "If they get it wrong, it would have catastrophic effects for their mobile business."A T-shaped bar inside a clear glass case slowly squeezes a battery against a big slab of metal that lines the floor. When the plates pull apart, the battery sticks to the bar instead of resting on the floor. After about two minutes, I see smoke. Suddenly, the battery turns red hot and bursts into flames.