Samsung halts Galaxy Note 7 production
Fire in the hold
Following a flurry of alarming reports that Galaxy Note 7 smartphones were overheating – and even combusting – manufacturer Samsung has finally announced that it has withdrawn all the affected units from sale and won’t be making any more. Customers 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 in the wake of a number of new incidents of overheating and has caused a serious dent in the reputation of 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.
So, what’s the problem?
The new announcement casts fresh doubt on to the cause of the glitch. Samsung originally identified a faulty battery supply as being responsible for overheating and claimed the issue was resolved by changing to another supplier.
However, despite a widespread phone exchange scheme for customers with faulty batteries, there hasn’t been any reduction in reports of phone-related conflagrations – leading to major US mobile carriers refusing to continue issuing Galaxy Note 7 models.
One incident saw passengers evacuated from a Southwest Airlines flight after a replacement Note 7 started smouldering and making ‘popping noises’ shortly after its owner boarded the plane. In another, 13-year old Abby Zuis reported a ‘weird burning sensation’ while using her replacement model, while Michael Klering was hospitalised with smoke-induced acute bronchitis after waking to find his Note 7 on fire and room full of smoke.
A costly exercise
It’s thought that production of the phone has already 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 body blow for the company which is fighting for market share with other leading manufacturers in a fiercely competitive field. Although customers are being offered a swap for a Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge, it’s a fair bet that many of those sales will instead go to Apple and Google, both of which have announced new phones of their own in recent weeks.
This seemingly intractable problem is likely to result in significant financial penalties, with some analysts predicting that the recall fiasco could cost it $5 billion in revenues, as well as the damage to the company’s reputation.
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