Samsung issued a recall on all Galaxy Note 7 smartphones yesterday due to a defect which could cause the battery to explode. The recall comes only a couple of weeks after Samsung released its “iPhone killer.”
A company investigation determined that the cause of the hazard stems from a battery cell manufactured by one of its two battery providers.
According to Fox News, Samsung’s president of mobile business, Koh Dong-jin, would not provide the name of the company responsible for the defect, saying only, “There was a tiny problem in the manufacturing process so it was very difficult to find out.”
The investigation confirmed 35 cases of exploding batteries. All 35 instances happened while the phone was charging.
One user reported that she was about to go to bed when her phone “burst into flames, filling her room with smoke and the smell of chemicals.”
The recall encompasses all Galaxy Note 7 smartphones sold worldwide since its release. Samsung is not taking any chances since there is no way to determine which phones have the battery defect. The only country not affected by the recall is China. Fox reports that the phones sold in China used batteries supplied from a different manufacturer.
Koh said that the company would accept returned phones from customers regardless of when the devices were purchased and will replace the potentially faulty smartphone with a new one. The company has already implemented an exchange program but says that exchanges will take about two weeks to complete, so users may have to tolerate going a short time without their phones. Samsung is also halting all sales and pulling the device from store shelves until it can replace the defective devices.
The problem came to national attention when affected users began posting photographs of their ruined phones on social media. It is assumed that these social media cases are included in the 35 instances that Samsung has confirmed. No injuries have been reported, and no lawsuits are pending on the matter at this time.
The Samsung recall could not come at a worse time for the company. Fox News reports that since going on sale in mid-August, the Galaxy Note 7 has sold more than 1 million units and 2.5 million phones have been manufactured in total. At a price point of around $900, that leaves Samsung with a loss of about $2.25 billion in potential revenue. It should be noted that this figure does not factor in mitigated costs associated with the exchange program nor does it exclude the phones that were sold in China that do not have to be replaced.
Samsung is not the only company that has faced dangerous battery complications in recent months. In early August the Palm Beach Post reported that a mountain biker suffered from third-degree burns when his iPhone 6 exploded in his pocket. The incident occurred when the man fell from his bike and landed on his iPhone, which was in his back pocket. On impact, the phone exploded and discharged contents from the battery, causing severe chemical burns on his upper thigh. No recall was issued since it was clearly a case of accidental damage and not a manufacturing defect.
In another incident, a 21-year-old man suffered first- and second-degree burns when his iPhone caught his pants on fire.
After feeling the pain and stripping off his trousers, he “saw some pieces of his phone fall out with smoke coming off them,” reported Palm Beach Post.
Apple did not issue a recall after that incident either and only commented that “it was not something that happened often.”
According to International Business Times, Samsung will be contacting customers who have purchased a Galaxy Note 7 within the next few days with instructions on how to exchange their phone. Users who do not hear from the company within the next several days may want to contact Samsung Customer Service for more information.
[Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]