Having to recall a line of premium, high-end smartphones once for exploding is bad enough. But when the replacement, supposedly safe phones also turn out to be unexpectedly flammable, well, that’s a sign that perhaps the phone is a dud and should be consigned to the scrap heap of device history for good. And, reports say, that’s exactly what Samsung is doing with the now-infamously defective Galaxy Note 7.
In a filing to South Korean regulators, Samsung has said it will permanently cease all production and sales of the Note 7 device. “Although the company controlled supply of the Galaxy Note 7 in an effort to strengthen quality and to further probe into the problems of the Galaxy Note 7, the company officially decided to halt the production of the model after halting the sales,” the Yonhap News Agency quotes the filing as saying.
In addition to all its U.S. woes and recall across North America, the Note 7 has become subject to a formal recall in China, where Samsung previously said that only non-defective units were sold. At least 20 cases of overheating or exploding Note 7 phones were identified in China.
A second recall, for phones sold in the U.S. after Sept. 15, has not yet been issued. However, since the CPSC is already urging device owners to stop using them, it seems distinctly possible that an expanded recall could be on the horizon.
One analyst told Reuters, “Samsung needs to take a giant write-down and cast the Note 7 to the engineering hall of shame next to the Ford Pinto,” perhaps the most infamously unsafe car sold in the United States due to its high risk of catching fire or exploding.
Samsung’s most recent statement, dated Oct. 11, only says that it is suspending sales and doesn’t mention production. We’ve asked Samsung for a statement and will update if we hear back.
Here’s a timeline of how we got to where we are today.
- August 31: Samsung delays new shipments of the Note 7, after receiving reports that some units sold in South Korea may have caught fire.
- September 2: Samsung admits the phones have a problem and announces the exchange program.
- September 15: Samsung and the CPSC finally make the recall official.
- September 16: Samsung’s top U.S. executive apologizes for the fact that 97% of Galaxy Note 7 phones may be susceptible to exploding; promises replacements will be available no later than Sept. 21.
- September 21: U.S. wireless carriers say that new phones are now available for anyone to order, not just for folks who need to exchange potentially flammable ones.
- September 22: Readers start telling us that they can’t get exchange units for their recalled phones.
- October 5: A replacement, supposedly non-hazardous Note 7 catches fire on an airplane, forcing all passengers and crew to evacuate at the gate.
- October 7: All major U.S. carriers start letting Note 7 owners trade in their defective phones for any other smartphone they want.
- October 9: Samsung halts production on new Note 7s “temporarily.”
- October 10: All major retailers in the U.S. pull sales of the Note 7 and the CPSC asks anyone who has one to power it down immediately and keep it off.
Samsung officially halts production of Galaxy Note 7 [Yonhap News Agency]
Samsung to Permanently Discontinue Galaxy Note 7 Smartphone [Wall Street Journal]
by Kate Cox via Consumerist