October 11, 2016
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Samsung halts sale, replacement, and production of Galaxy Note 7

Samsung finds itself deeper in a quagmire of exploding Galaxy Note 7s, product recalls, botched replacements, and slow PR responses as three replacement units caught fire all within a few days of each other last week, prompting the tech giant to halt the sale, replacement, and production of what would have been the king of phablets.

samsung note 7 exploding

Image courtesy of Tech Times

Following a string of incidents in which Note 7 replacements caught fire, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported on October 10 that Samsung Electronics has temporarily suspended production of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, an official at a Samsung supplier said. They also halted the sale of the units on the same day. It only took a day before Samsung released a short statement to engadget.com confirming that they’re indefinitely halting production of the Note 7 for good.

Incidents of Incineration

The ongoing saga of the Galaxy Note 7 began when reports of handsets catching fire exploded across the Internet after its release last August. A month after the official unveiling of the product, Samsung announced the global recall of 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 units due to faulty batteries.

However, a month after the official recall and Samsung’s replacement units went into the markets, there had been three official reports of these replacement units catching fire. The reports place the three separate incidents happening on October 4, 5, and 7.

On October 4, Michael Klering of Nicholasville, Kentucky woke up in his bedroom to find his replacement Note 7 on fire and engulfed in smoke. This caused acute bronchitis in Klering, who was rushed to the hospital.

On October 5, Brian Green was onboard Southwest Airlines flight 994 from Louisville to Baltimore when his powered down Note 7 began smoking in his pocket. The plane was still at the gate when the incident occurred so passengers and crew were able to evacuate before the fire could escalate. No injuries were reported.

The replacement Note 7 reportedly issued a “thick grey-green angry smoke,” burnt through the interior’s carpet, and seared the subfloor. Green confirmed that the phone was indeed one of the replacement units issued by Samsung, with a photograph of the box sporting the black square symbol indicating that it’s a replacement.

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On October 7, 13-year-old Abby Zuis of Farmington, Minnesota suffered a minor burn when her replacement Galaxy Note 7 melted through the protective cover of the unit in her hand.

US carriers already went ahead and permanently ended Note 7 sales, including their replacement units. This decision by carriers like AT&T came at the heels of the latest exploding Note 7 incident last week, should the trend of exploding replacement Note 7s that were originally deemed safe by Samsung continue.

Any Samsung Galaxy Note 7 purchased before September 15 is officially recalled. No official statement came from Samsung within the week of the three incidents asking for customers to stop using the replacement units, except the obligatory “we are taking this report seriously” comment, which basically says nothing to ensure customer safety.

Dire consequences

According to Bloomberg, Samsung’s recent Note 7 crisis seems to point to Samsung’s rush to overtake Apple’s iPhone 7, leading to rushed production, faulty devices, a rushed recall, and then a rushed replacement, which in turn led to faulty replacements. Note 7 reportedly has a larger battery than its predecessors, but the faulty production led to a final product where two parts of the battery that should not touch came into contact due to flimsy separators between the battery’s electrodes. When these electrodes come into contact with each other, it creates an uncontrolled positive feedback loop, generating heat and gas that only becomes hotter and hotter by the second, until it disintegrates.

Samsung messed up the recall by not acting fast enough after the first few reports, which escalated when the replacement phones caught fire as well. To make matters even worse, there had been three incidents of replacements Note 7 catching fire without an official recall of the replacements devices from Samsung after news of the first one catching fire broke out.

So far, 130,000 Galaxy Note 7 units have been returned, with approximately 90 percent of the faulty devices still in circulation. So if you’ve recently bought a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 or acquired one as a replacement, it would be much safer for you to return them and wait for a better and safer update. Samsung has announced that the Note 7 will officially be back in the market later this month. Let’s hope that version won’t pose any danger to consumers.