UPDATED: Samsung is releasing a software update that will essentially brick Galaxy Note 7 handsets that have not been returned to the company
UPDATED: Samsung has confirmed its next software update for the discontinued Galaxy Note 7 will render the smartphone inoperable and useless, in order to make any handsets that have not be returned to the company secure from battery combustion.
The update will stop the phablet’s battery from charging and prevent it from operation as a phone.
“Consumer safety remains our highest priority and we’ve had overwhelming participation in the U.S. Note7 Refund and Exchange Program so far, with more than 93 percent of all recalled Galaxy Note7 devices returned,” the South Korean company said.
“To further increase participation, a software update will be released starting on December 19th that will prevent U.S. Galaxy Note7 devices from charging and will eliminate their ability to work as mobile devices. If you have not yet returned your device, you should immediately power it down and contact your carrier to obtain a refund or exchange.”
03/11/16: Samsung is exploring ways to lessen the impact the recall of the Galaxy Note 7 will have on the environment.
“We recognize the concerns around the discontinuation of the Galaxy Note 7 and are currently reviewing possible options that can minimize the environmental impact of the recall in full compliance with relevant local environmental regulations,” Samsung said in a statement to Reuters.
Samsung’s reaction stems from a statement from Greenpeace where the environmental organisation demanded the smartphone giant find a way to reuse rare materials such as cobalt, gold, palladium and tungsten found in the now-discontinued Galaxy Note 7 handsets.
26/10/16: Samsung is issuing a new battery software update to all Galaxy Note 7 devices in Europe so they cannot be charged beyond 60 percent capacity – however the recall is still in effect.
The idea is not to make the devices safe to use, but rather to encourage them to return the discontinued handset as soon as possible. Samsung says no incidents have been reported since the previous battery update was rolled out.
“This new battery software update is specifically designed to remind all Galaxy Note7 customers to replace their device at their earliest possible convenience through their local Galaxy Note7 Replacement Programme,” said Conor Pierce, vice president of IT and mobile and Samsung UK and Ireland.
“We once again would like to apologise for not meeting the standard of product excellence that our customers have come to expect from Samsung and we sincerely thank them for their continued understanding and cooperation.”
13/10/2016: Samsung is offering financial incentives to customers in South Korea to exchange their Galaxy Note 7 handsets for other Samsung smartphones.
Reuters reports that Samsung is in damage-control mode, trying to mitigate the hit it will take from ending the production and sales of what was meant to be its best phone ever.
Rather than recycle or re-purpose returned Galaxy Note 7s, Samsung will dispose of the devices safely. However, this means the rare earth elements found in the millions of smartphones it sold will go to waste, meaning Samsung is also likely to take a hit to its environmental reputation as well as its position at the forefront of Android smartphones.
The entire recall process and ending of the Galaxy Note 7 has seen Samsung adjust its earnings forecast for the quarter to reflect a $2.34 billion loss.
11/10/16: Samsung has officially ended production of its Galaxy Note 7, after it failed to prevent harmful battery problems even after a full recall and reissue of the smartphone.
People who already own a Galaxy Note 7 are in some cases being offered the Korean tech giant’s Galaxy S7 Edge smartphone instead.
Despite its efforts, this effectively marks the end of the Galaxy Note 7 for Samsung, and the company will probably focus its efforts on the successor to the flawed phablet device. However, it will need to go someway to renew faith in its Note series.
The battery problems which have blighted the Galaxy Note 7 since its launch, highlight that Lithium ion batteries have been around for some time and perhaps are due to be replaced with an alternative before too long.
11/10/16: Samsung is urging users of its Galaxy Note 7 to shut the device down and has stopped selling and issuing replacements models of its flagship speakerphone.
After the first batch of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones were forced to be recalled due to their faulty battery packs posing a fire risk, Samsung reissued and started reselling new models of the phone. But it appears that the battery issues have still not been responded as reports came in that replacement handsets have also been catching fire.
As such, Samsung has been forced to prioritise the safety of its customers and encourage them to shut their Galaxy Note 7s down, as well as halt sales of the smartphone.
The latest update in the Galaxy Note 7 battery saga will come as a heavy blow to Samsung, which has seen its critically acclaimed smartphone fail due to a single but significant flaw.
“We are temporarily adjusting the Galaxy Note 7 production schedule in order to take further steps to ensure quality and safety matters,” a spokesperson told TechWeekEurope.
Earlier, Samsung said it was aware of the new claims and stressed it was taking action to protect its customers
“Samsung understands the concern our carriers and consumers must be feeling after recent reports have raised questions about our newly released replacement Note7 devices,” said the company.
“We continue to move quickly to investigate the reported case to determine the cause and will share findings as soon as possible. We remain in close contact with the [US Consumer Product Safety Commission] throughout this process. If we conclude a safety issue exists, we will work with the CPSC to take immediate steps to address the situation.
“We want to reassure our customers that we take every report seriously and we appreciate their patience as we work diligently through this process.”
Reuters claimed Samsung has now ceased production and operators are are saying they will no longer stock the Note 7.
“While Samsung investigates multiple reports of issues, T-Mobile is temporarily suspending all sales of the new Note 7 and exchanges for replacement Note 7 devices, ” said US network T-Mobile.