Samsung has ceased production of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after multiple incidents of the model catching fire or exploding.
Following this concern, the South Korean electronics company said that it had stopped production as a step towards “putting consumer safety as the top priority.”
The Galaxy Note 7 was released on 19 August, but Samsung ceased selling the product on the 2nd of September due to reports of the phones exploding. The fault was with the battery, which occasionally ignited while charging. The Note 7 uses Lithium Ion battery packs, which contain a highly flammable fluid, which would be ignited by any electricity reaching it.
Samsung’s initial approach to dealing with the situation was to use a voluntary recall programme, where consumers were asked to voluntarily hand in the 2.5 million with the promise that it would be replaced. This attracted criticism from the US Consumer Watchdog, prompting Samsung to issue an official recall a few days later.
Samsung claimed that the voluntary recall resulted in 70% of the original phones being returned. The US Federal Aviation Administration warned passengers not to turn on or charge the phones while on flights.
The issue was not solved upon the phones being replaced, however, as just five days after sales resumed in South Korea, a replacement model began to smoulder on a US flight. Up to five supposedly safe replacement phones have since ignited, prompting Samsung to abandon the product altogether. The replacements had new batteries, but a very similar problem arose with those.
With Apple’s iPhone 7 launching to underwhelming reviews as a result of its “incremental upgrades” and the controversial decision to remove the headphone jack, Samsung would have hoped that their flagship smartphone would make a big impact.
However, following the forced cessation of production, Samsung’s stock fell by almost 10 percent. The company will now have to rely on its smaller, cheaper model the Galaxy S7 to fly off the shelves in the hope of recovering from the brief existence of the Note 7.
The chances of a Note 7 exploding are relatively low, with the number of cases in region of hundreds, compared with 2.5m units being sold. However, for Samsung any number of exploding phones is hard to ignore.
As compensation, the company has offered customers who bought a Note 7 the opportunity to receive another product in exchange, but the long term issue for Samsung will be retaining the trust of consumers, many of whom may now associate Samsung products with the infamous exploding phones.