Samsung urgently tells customers to turn off their Note 7 phones

  • By Yahya Urubi

Samsung permanently halt the production of Note 7 devices

samsung-note-7

South Korean tech giant Samsung has permanently stopped the production of it’s co-flagship Galaxy Note 7 phablet.

The company had recalled millions of devices after reports of devices catching fire or exploding. Initially blaming battery faults replacements were issued. However both customers and lab tests have shown the replacement devices continue to have the same dangerous problems.

Samsung have also recalled their Chinese version of the Note 7, which have a completely different battery unit installed.

The firm had already reduced Galaxy Note 7 production volumes before announcing the device would be completely removed from production.

Owners are expected to be able to return the phones for a refund or an exchange for a different Samsung phone. It is expected however that most customers will return their device to their store of purchase for an upgrade to a rival brand such as Google or Apple.

Smart phones, phablets and tablets only make up approximately half of Samsung’s profits, as such it is unlikely to bring the company to a grinding halt, despite the the loss of share value over this disaster wiping billions off the market value of the tech giant.

Samsung say they will not reissue a third update of the new device but instead launch a totally new replacement. Market think tanks however have speculated that this is likely to mark the end of the famous Note phablet range from Samsung. The Note range, whilst always being a technologically market leading device has been plagued with battery issues in the past as The International previously reported. (Read More..)

“We recently readjusted the production volume for thorough investigation and quality control, but putting consumer safety as top priority, we have reached a final decision to halt production of Galaxy Note 7s,” the company said.

“For the benefit of consumers’ safety, we stopped sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note 7 and have consequently decided to stop production.”

Consumer tech analyst Caroline Milanesi of Creative Strategies had previously said that Samsung should “call it a day” on production of the Galaxy Note 7 to limit long-term risk to the brand.

However, South Korea’s finance minister had warned that the country’s exports would be hurt if the phone model was scrapped.

In September, Samsung recalled around 2.5 million phones, less thank one month after the launch of the device,  after complaints of exploding batteries. Replacing the devices Samsung later insisted that all replaced devices were safe. However, that was followed by reports that those phones were catching fire too.

A Kentucky man said he woke up to a bedroom full of smoke from a replaced Note 7, days after a domestic flight in the US was evacuated after a new device started emitting smoke in the cabin.

Samsung is now focusing on the S7 (and S7 Edge) as it’s sole flagship device. Trying to reassure customers that the company doesn’t have a wider problem.

As previously covered by The International however, Samsung Note range phablets have a history of “Battery Dumps” discharging all of the battery’s energy at once. It takes a remarkable amount of energy to enable what is essentially a powerful computer to perform as they do. This amount of energy being released all at once causes a lot of heat and a great risk of fire or explosion. Samsung have not commented on this theory. The BBC commented via a tech expert that when a device with such a high energy demand releases large quantities of energy at once this can cause a serious risk of fire or explosion.

Authorities in the US and South Korea are investigating why even the replacement Note 7 phones that Samsung equipped with a safer battery reportedly caught fire.

An official at the South Korean safety agency said the replacement phones might have a defect that was different from the problem with the original Galaxy Note 7s.

It has been suggested that the problem may be in the charging circuits, but in reality the true cause is not known.

There have also been numerous reports of exploding devices published on social media which have found to be hoaxes. These false posts have exaggerated the problem and played on safety concerns to create a panic and fear which may not be justified.

A manager at a central London Vodafone store told The International that the false posts were unfairly putting customers off using a great device. 24 hours later however, Samsung officially stopped production over safety concerns.

Samsung could suffer “a considerable loss of consumer faith,” said Greg Roh at HMC Investment Securities.

“If it’s once, it could be taken as a mistake. But for Samsung, the same thing happened twice with the same model,” he said.

“The reason consumers prefer brands like Samsung and Apple is because of product reliability. So in this case, brand damage is inevitable and it will be costly for Samsung to turn that around again.”

At least five fires were reported in replacement devices in the US. Samsung said it had sold about 45,000 Note 7s through pre-orders in Europe. There have been no confirmed reports in the UK, where the handset was never officially or completely released.

Richard Windsor, from Edison Investment Research, said: “As a result of making a complete mess of the Galaxy Note 7 recall, Samsung is more likely to lose a large number of high-end users to other Android handsets rather than to Apple. The real issue is brand and reputation. As long as Samsung carried out the recall smoothly and kept users very happy, the issue would eventually blow over. Unfortunately, this is very far from the case, and the fact that Samsung appeared to still be shipping defective devices could trigger a large loss of faith in Samsung products.”


 

Do you own or have you pre-ordered a Galaxy Note 7? Are you worried about it? Let us know about your experiences. Email story@theinternational.org.uk with your stories.

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Y.Urubi@theinternational.org.uk