Every now and then, a major tech company makes a mistake (yes, they are human— or the people running it are) and they cost their baby a substantial amount of money and quite a prolonged headache. Samsung’s recent announcement of a recall for their beloved Galaxy Note7 smartphone fits comfortably into this category, when a few days ago Samsung acknowledged the numerous cases of their new smartphones catching fire. During one of the most crucial time frames for their product (with Apple getting ready to release their iPhone 7), they have hit a major roadblock and have a daunting task ahead of them.
From a car charging nightmare that burned one man's family Jeep to a crisp, a 6-year-old boy that suffered burns to his body, to a near disaster at a hotel in Australia, Samsung certainly has some explaining to do. With just north of a million phones sold, there are a generous number of consumers wondering just what in the heck to do next?
With a global recall, an FAA warning for no Galaxy Note7 to be taken on board an airplane while powered on, or charging, we will take you through the wild week that Samsung has had. The downright unsafe week some Galaxy Note7 users have had, and what to expect from the Samsung company both now and into the future. Let's Go!
15 It's Lit... Literally
After its hot August release, Samsung had manufactured an impressive 2.5 million Galaxy Note7 phones. Only problem was the phones seemed rather excited as well, after what was apparently caused by ‘cheap’ battery cells, the phones have been catching fire. Multiple reports of completely torched phones, and in some cases massive property damage and even a burn victim, Samsung has issued a worldwide recall of the previously sold 1 million smart phones. Leaving countless in the dark about future steps to take, how to safely return the device, and what exactly to do next, many customers have become quite frustrated, and with good reason.
Samsung’s flagship device has just been on sale for a just over a month and has run into a dead stop, and after word of the recall spread, Samsung’s released these comments to the public regarding the recall. “For customers who already have Galaxy Note7 devices, we will voluntarily replace their current device with a new one over the coming weeks. We acknowledge the inconvenience this may cause in the market but this is to ensure that Samsung continues to deliver the highest quality products…”
14 Unprecedented Recall
Friday morning Samsung issued the unprecedented recall of every Galaxy Note7 it has produced to date. Samsung has claimed to have sold just north of 1 million smart phones to customers and due to faulty mechanics, have asked that everyone power off their phones and return them as soon as possible. For obvious safety risks, Samsung having dealt already with 35+ episodes of the device catching fire, would like to keep it at bay, and not have to investigate further accusations towards their beloved device. While it's all good and well that Samsung has issued a recall (like they had any other choice), what poses a more serious question is what individuals who are reading this and burying their ticking time bombs outdoors supposed to do moving forward? As of right now Samsung has said that it is making replacement models for the future, and existing owners of the phone are ‘strongly’ encouraged to power their phones off and return them to Samsung immediately.
13 Impromptu Pyrotechnics
Just what exactly is causing these devices to self-destruct into a ball of way-too-early Fourth of July festivities? ‘Cheap’ battery cells have been pinpointed as the most likely culprit, especially when considering that the phones are catching fire, it is logical to expect there to be a significant amount of overheating taking place.
The answer lies behind Lithium-ion battery cells, a common power source not only used in phones but laptops, power tools, and toys. Well-made electronics have safety measures constructed into their lithium-ion batteries, but faulty ones with poorly made electric circuitry can meet with fiery ends such as numerous have already been reported with the Galaxy Note7. For example faulty batteries can actually be ‘overcharged’, while well-made batteries will automatically stop charging when they are full. This is one primary reason the phones have posed such a threat to explode.
12 No Fly Zone
Due to the recent ‘spark’ of interest regarding the new flammable phenomena, the Flight Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a warning to would-be passengers boarding airlines with their new phones. The FAA has stated in their warning that no passengers should ‘power on’ their devices while on the plane, and users are especially obligated to not charge their device throughout the duration of the flight and even while onboard. The FAA has also urged passengers to not stow their phones in checked baggage either; that carrying them inside their ‘carry-on’ luggage was a better alternative than amongst checked baggage.
With the recent passing date of 9/11, it provokes an all too serious reminder of the dangers that can be posed to an aircraft. Going back to 2013, an incident occurred grounding a fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircrafts, after the cause was later revealed to be large lithium batteries, and that those created, “problems for the aircraft”.
Civil Aviation Authorities in the Emirates have placed a ban on the phones when entering a plane, the Authorities have made it clear that no passengers are to board the plane with the phone on their person, they are worried of the phones ability to 'combust' and since have banned them completely from boarding any planes.
11 Financial Impact
Because this problem is so new, of course a financial ‘hit’ is to be expected, it’s just hard to assess just how devastating this recall will prove to be. Across the globe in places such as Seoul, Korea the stock prices have already reflected the recent recall. Dropping 2% the day following the recall, and another 1% everyday for the next three days; it would seem that dropping stock percentage points is the least of Samsung’s worries at this point. At over 2.5 million manufactured and estimated 1 million sold, and a hefty price point just north of $800 dollars, Samsung has been faced with the task of replacing all 2.5 million units manufactured and replacing those that have already been sold. The costs associated with this exercise are astronomical, rough estimates place a potential for a $1 billion loss. The company didn’t specify exactly how much the recall would set it back, but Dongjin Koh, President of Mobile at Samsung Electronics, did disclose that it’s a “heartbreaking amount.”
This setback couldn’t have come at a worse time. While Apple is getting ready to unleash its new iPhone 7, Samsung is facing more press than it anticipated (and not the good kind either).
10 6-Year-Old Boy Burned
In one of the most devastating cases linked to the recent recall occurred when a 6-year-old boy was watching a string of videos on the phone. The phone spontaneously exploded into a ball of flames while still in the young boys grasp, and the child suffered burns to his body and hands. Understandingly, the boy is afraid to be near phones or any device for that matter. Linda Lewis, the boy’s grandmother, told The Post, “It set off alarms in my house”, adding, “He is home now and he’s been crying to his mother.” Lewis did say that she’s been in communication with Samsung, but refused to elaborate further.
Since the recent recalls, and incidents the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has come forward and urged users, especially those with children around the house, to not use the device.
9 Property Damage
Alongside physical harm from the flammable device, property damage has become an increasing risk not only for those involved, but financially for Samsung as well. On Labor Day this past week, Nathan Dornacher was enjoying the holiday with his family, while unloading the car from a family trip, Dornacher says the phone left near the console, “burst into flames”. It wasn’t long after that the dash caught fire, and soon his entire car. Dornacher’s Jeep was suddenly a smoldering smoke show, and eventually burnt to a crisp. Dornacher posted several pictures on social media, and told reporters that he has been in contact with Samsung since the fire took place. However, it appears negotiations between the tech giant and Mr. Dornacher are not off to the best of starts. The Note7 owner posted on Facebook writing: “Samsung has blown me off after over an hour on the phone this morning”, adding, “Never called me back, guess it's time to get a lawyer”.
8 MORE Property Damage
This isn’t the first case this week of a customer saying that a Samsung device had caught fire and damaged property. In Australia, a man said he had his Note charging by his hotel bed when it combusted. The damage to the hotel was said to be $1,400 dollars, but could have resulted in much more, Samsung caught a break with such little property damage to account for. “It started with a fizzy noise and then a pop, and then flames and smoke came out,” said Mr. Hua, the man whose phone caught fire in the hotel. “I had to throw it down to the floor and disconnect the cable, and hit it with the pillow to stop the fire.” Thanks to Mr. Hua’s fast acting and awareness, he may have saved Samsung from a potential fortune in repair costs.
7 A Troubled Past...
Samsung isn’t the first company to wave the white flag of recall; technologies of the past have struggled as well with lithium-ion batteries catching fire. Not all phone companies either, remember those fancy new hover boards? Well, if you were one of the first to shell out the money to be floating around town, chances are you left a fiery trail behind you.
Similarly to the Samsung Galaxy Note7, the batteries in the hover boards were prone to overheating, and if you check YouTube, you're bound to have a good laugh at the Hover Boards exploding into flames just simply sitting there. Anytime a tech company develops a fancy new piece of equipment, there are of course going to be some risks taken. We have seen Apple have to deal with the viral Antenna crisis of 2006 with their beloved iPhone 4, Steve Jobs was public about his worry that the problem could cost them a great deal of money, but he, being Steve Jobs, was able to remedy the problem. While Samsung seems to be in deep water, remember they are as successful as they are for a reason, and it won't be long before they find a solution that will keep customers happy and bad press at bay.
6 Samsung's Exchange Program
By now, you're aware that Samsung has issued a statement acknowledging the incidents of “exploding devices”, and that they have issued a recall for all existing devices of the same make. But what do you do if you have already bought their smartphone?
First and foremost, if you own a Galaxy Note7, Samsung has strongly suggested for you to power off your phone and return it at your convenience. Samsung has made a statement that they are working on new Galaxy Note7s for those who exchange their current hand grenades. During the time between phones, they have claimed to be giving old users temporary phones until the new models are released. Samsung has implemented an exchange program, allowing users to exchange their old models for new ones, pending the new model's pass CPSC approval. In the meantime, Samsung is offering users the S7 edge to act as a placeholder.
5 Global Warming...
The Galaxy Note7 isn’t just stirring up problems in the United States; the device has been pulled from shelves in 10 countries so far. South Korea and the United States are the two largest countries the killer Samsung has had its eye on, along with Canada, India, and the United Kingdom. Interestingly enough, it seems that China is not included in the countries affected. Samsung even came forward and said that China is clear of the recent problems posed by the Note7. The reasoning behind their free pass is said to be because the phones that were sent to China were developed using a battery from a different supplier. So, the batteries should be safe and customers can keep their original Note7s.
4 You Exchanged Your Note7, Are You Safe?
Samsung has announced that it is going to make it easier to distinguish which Note 7s don't pose a risk when you're looking at the packaging, but what if you've only got the phone itself? Samsung isn't making any changes to the phone's physical design. Instead, it'll be launching an IMEI database tool next week where consumers can type in their phone's unique IMEI number and see whether it's one of the original recalled Notes or one of the safe replacement shipments. The IMEI can be found on the barcode label, but you can also view it on the device itself by going to the settings menu. The company will also be adding a sticker with a 'S' on the barcode label, indicating it's safe.
Consumers of the original Note 7 should be able to exchange the device for a replacement model wherever it was originally purchased. Following the recall, mobile carriers have also offered full refunds on the Note7 and waived all restocking fees. In most cases, customers also have the option of trading it for a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge and being credited the difference in cost.
3 Samsung Stepping Up To The Plate
Say what you want about Samsung, but they did make a pretty standup decision to announce their own voluntary recall of the Galaxy Note7. At perhaps one of the cruelest times to announce a recall, (Apple set to launch its new iPhone 7) Samsung made the ultimate choice to express concerns and halt all production of future Note devices. Obviously, the fact that they need to make a worldwide recall in the first place displays an oversight by Samsung, but they have stepped up to the plate and are attempting to manage and do some ‘damage control’ as best they could. The road the rest of the way is unknown, without a doubt the worst is yet to come, with no telling of the potential revenue loss and how many customers will return their Galaxy Note7s and take their money elsewhere. All in all, the company does earn a little respect (whatever that’s worth) by owning up to their mistakes and attempting to move forward.
2 Why You Should Still Buy The Galaxy Note7
Just because the majority of this article is ripping and shredding Samsung for their negligent oversight, that’s not to say that the phone isn’t an upgrade from previous models. If you’re able to overlook their blunder as a company, there are some pretty awesome features that the Galaxy Note7 possesses, like an upgraded camera, a sharper picture, and waterproof capability. A lot of the upgrades run parallel to what Apple is incorporating with their new iPhone 7, however the Galaxy Note7 has a longer display screen, and a wider layout as well. Samsung has been known for their creativity when it comes to widgets and features, and there’s no shortage on this model, a new upgraded Stylus pen allows for users to scribble all over the screen and save notes, like a grocery list or a list of chores for your little rascals. Other than the obvious problem with the battery, and you know, its yearning to be an explosive, the phone does feature a lot of cool new technology and is definitely worth consideration— once everything is fixed, of course.
1 Moving Forward...
Following Samsung's decision, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has placed its own recall on the device, as well as the FAA placing a ban. Previously, the FAA had stated a warning on the flammable device, but with the increased number of incidents, they have the ability to completely ban the product. Don't plan on taking the phone on any airplane travels until this issue is dealt with and over.
If you’ve already purchased the phone, then you are left with a few options. You can either exchange your Note7 to Samsung and hold a loner phone until the new ‘safer’ model is released. Or, you can return the phone and take your money elsewhere and just forget Samsung altogether.
One thing is for sure, this is promised to be a headache no matter how you cut the pie.