Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Latest: Software Update Will Kill Unreturned Handsets

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

UPDATED: Samsung is releasing a software update that will essentially brick Galaxy Note 7 handsets that have not been returned to the company

06/10/2016: The battery of a replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 forced a Southwest Airlines plane to be evacuated when it started smoking, triggering fears that the smartphone could cause an explosion.

The Verge reported that Flight 994 from Louisville to Baltimore was rapidly evacuated and no one was harmed in the process, however the smoking phone had burned through the planes carpet and scorched its subfloor.

Owner Brian Green was forced to drop the Samsung’s flagship smartphone when “thick grey-green angry smoke” started pouring out of it.

The phone was a replacement issued to Green after Samsung was forced to recall the first batch of Galaxy Note 7 when it received reports of the battery pack catching fire.

News of the new phone suffering from a similar problem will come as a massive blow for Samsung which is already amidst one massive worldwide recall.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

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Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (3)

Recall well underway

Samsung has recovered over 60 percent of its recalled Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in the South Korea and the US. 

The Korean tech giant said it is focused on replacing the smartphones “as quickly and efficently” as possible, as well as highlighting that customers who still have not returned their Galaxy Note 7 handsets to power off the device and return it promptly.

According to the BBC, Samsung has said it will delay restarting the sales of the Galaxy Note 7 in South Korea as the company needs more time to complete its global recall of the millions of handsets it shipped.

However, The Wall Street Journal reports that there have been isolated complaints over replacement batteries for the Galaxy Note 7 overheating and rapidly loosing battery life, though it is yet unclear if many devices are affected.

19/09/2016: Samsung Galaxy Note 7 users in the UK can now exchange their existing devices for a brand new smartphone following multiple reports of battery fires.

Sales of the phablet were halted in the UK on 2 September and the Koran manufacturer has stressed the issue relates to an “isolated battery cell”.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7The recall will be complemented by a software update that will start rolling out to UK users this week, limiting the ability of the device to recharge to full capacity. Any device obtained as part of the UK exchange programme is no longer affected by the problem, Samsung claims.

Instructions on how to participate in the exchange are here.

“Our absolute priority is the safety of our customers – that’s why we are asking all Galaxy Note7 customers to act now and exchange today”, said Samsungs European head, Conor Pierce.

“We would like to apologise to our Note7 customers for not meeting the standard of product excellence that they have come to expect from Samsung and we sincerely thank them for their understanding and patience. We are confident that by exchanging their existing device for a new Note7, customers can expect to enjoy a smartphone experience of the very highest quality.”

16/09/2016: US regulators have formally ordered Samsung to recall one million of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, as more reports of the device’s exploding battery come in.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission was prompted to take such action due to concerns over the fire hazard the Galaxy Note 7’s battery pack can cause; according to the commission’s website so far there have been  92 reports of the batteries overheating in the US, which includes 26 reports of burns and 55 of property damage.

“The lithium-ion battery in the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones can overheat and catch fire, posing a serious burn hazard to consumers,” the regulator said.

To handle the situation on the UK, Samsung has set up an exchange programme for its Galaxy Note 7 to facilitate the recall process. 

The Korean tech giant is currently working with its supplier partners and mobile operators to voluntarily replace every Galaxy Note 7 it has sold, some 2.5 million units worldwide.

In the UK, the exchange programme will see customers get contacted by the provider or operator they received their Galaxy Note 7 from, who will then arrange for an exchange. These exchanges will begin from 19 September.

Pre-orders of the Galaxy Note 7 will also be delayed as Samsung works with its partners to supply a safe replacement smartphone as soon as possible.

Explosive launch

death star explosionSamsung was first forced to halt sales and issue a recall for all of its well-received Galaxy Note 7 ‘phablets’ after an influx of reports that the smartphone’s battery was catching fire and exploding.

While this problem doesn’t affect every Galaxy Note 7, there have been 35 cases reported of the battery suffering from spontaneously combustion.

“There have been a small number of cases reported globally and we are currently conducting a thorough inspection with our suppliers to identify possible affected batteries in the market. However, because our customers’ safety is an absolute priority at Samsung, we have stopped sales of the Galaxy Note7,” said Samsung.

The exchange programme will not only offer a replacement Galaxy Note7 but also give customers the option to opt for another smartphone in Samsung’s flagship line up, such as the Galaxy S7, with the Korean company refunding the difference in price.

While this demonstrates that Samsung is showing a commitment to its customers’ satisfaction as well as safety, the timing of the incident is particularity galling for it, as Apple is expected to announce the iPhone 7 this evening, which could see people with a faulty Galaxy Note 7 cut their losses and opt for a new smartphone from Apple.

“The timing of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall is as positive for Apple as it is bad for Samsung. It is essentially a race as Samsung strives to replace stock and Apple builds its own channel inventory of the new iPhone,” said Geoff Blaber, VP of research for CCS Insight’s Americas division.

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