All Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Devices In The U.S. Will Be Permanently Disabled After December 19

Lee Jin-manAP Images

In what is believed to be a last ditch attempt to recall all Samsung Galaxy Note 7 handsets still out there in the wild, Samsung will issue a software update that will permanently render the phone useless.

According to a report by The Verge, almost three months after Samsung issued a global recall for its doomed flagship Android phablet, several handsets remain unaccounted for and are still being used by thousands of people in the U.S. and several other countries across the globe. This, however, may not continue for long. In order to “coerce” people to return their Note 7 devices to Samsung (in exchange of an alternate Samsung product), the company will flick an over-the-internet kill switch, which will render all the remaining Galaxy Note 7 units still out there useless. A day after The Verge report, Samsung officially announced that all remaining Note 7 units would be remotely disabled once the company issues an update on December 19.

A statement issued earlier today read as follows.

“Consumer safety remains our highest priority and we’ve had overwhelming participation in the U.S. Note7 Refund and Exchange Program so far, with more than 93 percent of all recalled Galaxy Note7 devices returned. To further increase participation, a software update will be released starting on December 19th that will prevent U.S. Galaxy Note7 devices from charging and will eliminate their ability to work as mobile devices. If you have not yet returned your device, you should immediately power it down and contact your carrier to obtain a refund or exchange.”

While preventing the handset from charging is a sure fire way of ensuring that the Galaxy Note 7 is disabled permanently, this is definitely not the first move from Samsung to limit the features on the Note 7. In the not too distant past, Samsung rolled out updates to users on Verizon, AT&T, and other carriers which disabled several features on the phone and placed restrictions on the device. One of the restrictions was to prevent the phone from charging past the 60 percent mark. A recent update also resulted in a pop up message appearing on the display every time the handset is powered on. In this message, Samsung reminds the users about the fact that the product in his/her possession has been recalled and that it needs to be returned to the company.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall
In this Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016 photo, Samsung Electronics Galaxy Note 7 smartphones are displayed at its shop in Seoul, South Korea. The Note 7, initially launched as Samsung's weapon to kill the iPhone, was scrapped less than two months after its launch after consumers reported incidents of the devices catching fire. Replacement Note 7s given for the recalled phones also were found to be overheating. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)Featured image credit: Lee Jin-manAP Images

In spite of all these moves, a significant number of Samsung Galaxy Note 7 handsets remain out there. This resulted in Samsung taking even more severe measures. For example, a recent update rolled out in Canada disabled all wireless features on the phone. This means that the handset is no longer able to connect to Wi-Fi or use its Bluetooth radio. All data and cellular services too stopped working — effectively turning the phone into a camera-enabled paperweight. However, some people seem to be still unconvinced and wish to hold on to their “rare” Note 7s. The latest update will ensure that their handsets would not power on at all once it runs out of battery after December 15.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 fiasco began earlier this year — just weeks after Samsung launched the handset in several countries across the globe. Just days into the launch, there were multiple reports of the handset exploding and going up in flames.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 exploded
A burnt Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (Joni Gantz Barwick via AP)Featured image credit: Joni Gantz BarwickAP Images

This prompted Samsung to issue a preliminary recall that was for a select batch of phones that the company said was affected by the problem. Samsung also sent out safe, replacement units to everyone who returned their faulty units. However, just days after this, there were several reports of these supposedly safe exchanged units also catching fire. This resulted in Samsung issuing a complete product recall. They also announced that the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 would be permanently discontinued.

Just over a month ago, on November 4, Samsung announced that they have been able to get back more than 85 percent of all the Galaxy Note 7 units sold in the U.S. This however, also meant that there were more than 285,000 Samsung Galaxy Note 7 units still out there. Do you think this latest move would ensure that all remaining Note 7 units will finally be returned?

[Featured Photo By Lee Jin-man/AP Photo]