Barely two (2) months after it rolled-off production line for the first time, South Korean tech giant Samsung has permanently ceased production of its high-end Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after reports of devices it had deemed safe catching fire. The South Korean firm attempted to fix the problem by switching battery suppliers and updating the smartphone's software. Company executives issued a slew of apologies.
But when replacement phones were issued, a number of customers reported that those devices also caught fire, including one aboard a passenger jet. Samsung on Monday (10/10/2016) advised all customers to stop using the phones, sending its shares tumbling by 8% in Seoul. The world's biggest smartphone maker said Tuesday (11/10/2016) it was killing off the phone entirely. Owners are expected to be able to return the phones for a refund or an exchange for a different Samsung phone.
"For the benefit of consumers' safety, we stopped sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note 7 and have consequently decided to stop production."
Technology expert has suggested that Samsung should "call it a day" on production of the Galaxy Note 7 to limit long-term risk to the brand. However, South Korea's finance minister had warned that the country's exports would be hurt if the phone model was scrapped.
In September 2016, Samsung recalled around 2.5 million phones after complaints of exploding batteries. It later insisted that all replaced devices were safe. However, that was followed by reports that those phones were catching fire too.A Kentucky man said he woke up to a bedroom full of smoke from a replaced Note 7, days after a domestic flight in the US was evacuated after a new device started emitting smoke in the cabin.
Phone users have posited that Samsung could suffer "a considerable loss of consumer faith". "If it's once, it could be taken as a mistake. But for Samsung, the same thing happened twice with the same model," customers have said.
"The reason consumers prefer brands like Samsung and Apple is because of product reliability. So in this case, brand damage is inevitable and it will be costly for Samsung to turn that around again." At least five fires were reported in replacement devices in the US.
Samsung said it had sold about 45,000 Note 7s through pre-orders in Europe. The handset was never officially released for sale in the UK and Nigeria.