Samsung Galaxy Note 7 production halted
My phone is on fire!
In the wake of a stream of unnerving reports that Galaxy Note 7 smartphones were overheating – and even bursting into flames – manufacturer Samsung has been forced to announce that it has withdrawn all the affected units from sale and won’t be making any more. All users have been advised to turn off the power and to ask for a refund or an exchange for a different model.
The admission was made following a number of new incidents of overheating and has delivered a punishing blow to the South Korean tech giant which only last month recalled millions of smartphones, apparently due to faulty batteries that were causing some handsets to emit smoke or catch fire.
Samsung originally identified a faulty battery supply as being responsible for overheating and claimed the issue was resolved by changing to another supplier. But these latest incidents cast doubt on that explanation.
In fact, despite a running a phone-exchange scheme for customers, there was no reduction in reports of combustion – resulting in some major US mobile carriers refusing to continue issuing Galaxy Note 7 models.
In one incident, passengers were evacuated from a Southwest Airlines flight when a replacement Note 7 started smoking and making ‘popping noises’ as the flight boarded. In another, 13-year old Abby Zuis reported a ‘weird burning sensation’ while using her replacement model. In a more serious incident, Michael Klering was hospitalised with smoke-induced acute bronchitis after waking to find his Note 7 on fire and room full of smoke.
Counting the cost
Production of the phone has now ceased. ‘Taking our customer’s safety as our highest priority, we have decided to halt sales and production of the Galaxy Note 7.’ Samsung said in a filing in South Korea.
It’s a controversy the company could have well done without, as it fights for market share with other leading manufacturers in a fiercely competitive field. And, while customers are being offered a swap for a Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge, it would be unsurprising if many of those sales went instead to Apple and Google, both of which have announced new phones of their own in recent weeks.
The fiasco is also likely to result in substantial financial penalties, with some analysts predicting that the recall episode could cost Samsung $5 billion in revenues, as well as the long-term damage to the company’s reputation.
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