Users began posting photos and videos on social media late last month showing the charred Galaxy Note 7 with part of its 5.7-inch touchscreen burnt and melted, saying it suddenly caught fire.
Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, said it would recall 2.5 million units shipped globally to countries including the US and South Korea, and offer new devices to existing users.
It is the first large-scale recall of one of Samsung’s top of the range phones. “We have received several reports of battery explosions on the Note 7 that was officially launched on August 19... and it has been confirmed that it was a battery cell problem,” Koh Dong-Jin, the head of Samsung’s mobile business, told reporters.
“We are deeply sorry for causing concern... and causing inconvenience among our users.” He said the faulty rate amounted to 24 handsets per each million sold and that it would take about two weeks to prepare replacements. The company has also been forced to delay the handset’s planned release this month in several European countries including France. The news comes as Samsung’s archrival Apple is due to unveil its iPhone 7 on Wednesday.
The mobile division accounts for the lion’s share of Samsung’s business, but has been increasingly squeezed by competition both from Apple’s iPhone and by lower-end devices from Chinese rivals such as Huawei.
The latest recall is expected to hurt its bid to outsell the iPhone 7, said Lee Jang-Gyoon, researcher at the economic think tank Hyundai Research Institute. “Samsung released the Note 7 early to secure a leading position in the market in advance, but now the impact of the move will be blunted,” he said. Samsung currently uses batteries made by a number of different companies, including its sister firm Samsung SDI.
Koh refused to name the supplier of the faulty battery but said sales in China, where it uses a different supplier, will be unaffected. Sales in China started on Thursday. Samsung - South Korea’s largest firm by value - posted a better-than-expected gain in net profit for the second quarter, boosted by solid sales of its high-end Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones and aggressive cost-cutting.
Today, shares were up 0.6 per cent after falling for two days in a row and after investors shaved $7 billion off the market value of the company on Thursday amid concerns about how the explosions would impact the firm’s reputation.
... Delays rollout of Note7 in India
South Korean consumer electronics major Samsung is delaying selling of Galaxy Note7 in India following its decision to stop sales of the flagship device globally due to cases of battery exploding while charging. Samsung had launched the Galaxy Note7 last month in India at a price tag of Rs 59,900. The device was to be made available in the Indian market from Friday.
The world’s largest mobile phone maker has also announced a global recall of the device after reports that the handset can explode while charging. “To date (as of September 1) 35 cases have been 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 delayed sales of the Galaxy Note7 in India,” a Samsung India spokesperson said in a statement.
The company, however, did not specify a timeline for the device to be made available in the Indian market. “We acknowledge the inconvenience this may cause in the market but this is to ensure that Samsung continues to deliver the highest quality products to our customers,” the spokesperson added.
The South Korean company said it had found a battery cell issue. Globally, the company had stated that “for customers who already have Galaxy Note 7 devices, we will voluntarily replace their current devices with a new one over the coming weeks”.