This is perhaps turning out to be the worst quarter that consumer electronics giant Samsung Electronics has faced since its inception. The Korean company, famous for making everything from microchips and LCD TVs, to mobile phones, has been in the news for the past few weeks thanks to its flagship Android smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 which has gained notoriety for its explosive tendencies. Ever since the handset went on sale last month, there have been several reports of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 either catching fire or being involved in small explosions. The sheer number of such cases eventually led to an investigation, followed by a product recall that spanned several countries.
Following the product recall, Samsung issued replacement devices to many users, which according to them were “safe.” Under normal circumstances, these replacement devices should have solved the issue (which Samsung admitted to have been caused due to a combination of poor quality control checks and manufacturing defects on part of one of their battery vendors). However, over the last week, we have been receiving several reports which seem to indicate that many of these replaced devices also face the same issue with their batteries. This has led to another investigation and naturally, more trouble for Samsung. In a fresh development, Samsung has reportedly suspended the production of the Note 7. This report about the suspension of production was reported by Yonhap News, a Korean news agency, according to Yahoo! News. According to a Korean official, the production halt is in cooperation with consumer safety regulators from South Korea, the United States, and China.
“This measure includes a Samsung plant in Vietnam that is responsible for global shipments (of the Galaxy Note 7),” the official said.
Samsung is yet to officially announce this development.
In the latest incident involving the Galaxy Note 7, a teenager from Minnesota was reportedly burned by a replacement Galaxy Note 7 which was only recently replaced and was deemed safe for use. Prior to that, another incident involving the same handset was reported from a Southwest Airlines flight in which passengers were evacuated from the aircraft after a replaced Note 7 “smoked” inside the plane. The most recent report however, comes from Kentucky, where a man identified as Michael Klering claimed that his replacement Galaxy Note 7 started emitting smoke and fumes while he and his wife were in their bedroom fast asleep. The incident reportedly happened last Tuesday at around 4 a.m., local time, USA Today reports.
Describing the incident, he told local TV stations what happened.
“I was scared to death for a minute, The whole room just covered in smoke, smells awful. I look over and my phone is on fire,” Klering said.
He added that the device was with him for just a week.
“The phone is supposed to be the replacement, so you would have thought it would be safe. It wasn’t plugged in. It wasn’t anything, it was just sitting there.”
A few hours after the incident, Klering said he started feeling sick and started vomiting and went in to the emergency room.
“I was vomiting black so it was very scary. It was a lot of black stuff and it didn’t look right,” Klering said.
Samsung is yet to formally respond to these new incidents with the Note 7. They had however issued a statement after the Southwest Airlines incident which read as follows.
“Until we are able to retrieve the device, we cannot confirm that this incident involves the new Note 7. We are working with the authorities and Southwest now to recover the device and confirm the cause. Once we have examined the device we will have more information to share.”
Meanwhile, Klering added that Samsung did contact him and requested him to return his phone to them so that they could check what went wrong. He however refused. He is now mulling legal action against Samsung.
“They’re in kid’s pockets, people’s cars, all kinds of things. We saw with the first ones. Samsung needs to do something to get these off the market,” Klering said.
Even as more reports of exploding Samsung Galaxy Note 7 handsets keep on coming, the tech world remains divided over these developments. While one section is sensing that there is something fishy happening with all these Samsung devices exploding and catching fire, there are others tech pundits who are of the opinion that Samsung deserves all the flak for not adhering to high quality standards. The other group, on the other hand, has growing suspicion if these incidents are part of a motive to damage Samsung’s reputation. We have had several publications already talking about these possibilities.
What do you think? Are these fresh reports of replaced Galaxy Note 7 phones catching fire trustworthy? Do you believe this is part of a conspiracy to defame the company and eventually dethrone Samsung from its current position as the world’s largest smartphone maker?
[Featured Image Lee Jin-man/AP Photo]