Samsung Finally Explains the Galaxy Note 7 Exploding Battery Mess

Image: A damaged Samsung Galaxy Note 7
A damaged Samsung Galaxy Note 7 sit on a table in Richmond, Virginia, after it caught fire on Oct. 9.Shawn L. Minter / AP

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By Alyssa Newcomb

After two bungled recalls — and three months after Samsung killed production of the fire-starting Galaxy Note 7 smartphone — the South Korean company is now ready to explain what went wrong.

The company said at a news conference Monday morning in South Korea that two separate problems with its lithium-ion batteries were to blame for the fires, which led to two unprecedented recalls of the smartphone.

Samsung made the unprecedented decision in October to stop production of the Note 7 and issued a second recall after some customers reported that their replacement devices were still catching fire.

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DJ Koh, president of mobile at Samsung, said that during the aftermath, the company worked to replicate the incidents and "complete a detailed analysis," according to a translator at the news conference.

A damaged Samsung Galaxy Note 7 sit on a table in Richmond, Virginia, after it caught fire on Oct. 9.Shawn L. Minter / AP

In the case of the first battery, Samsung pointed to a design flaw in the upper right corner that, in some cases, caused the positive and negative tabs to break down, resulting in a short circuit.

The second battery, which came from another manufacturer, was apparently faulty because of a welding defect that could cause the battery to catch fire, it said.

The news comes as Samsung is preparing to reveal its fourth-quarter earnings results Monday at 7:30 p.m. ET, which will cover the period that was arguably the most blemished in Samsung's history.

Related: Galaxy Note 7 Battery Disaster Knocks Billions Off Samsung's Profits

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recall covered 1.9 million phones in the United States. Globally, to date, 96 percent of the 3 million phones that were sold have been returned, Samsung said.

Related: Samsung Is Making Remaining Galaxy Note 7 Phones Useless

The Galaxy Note 7 launched Aug. 19 in markets including the United States, with the company touting its iris security scanner as one of its standout features. However, the flagship phone soon turned into a serious fire hazard that was blamed for a number of fires and injuries.