Samsung Galaxy Note 7 users urged to switch off handset

Thomas Wellburn
October 11, 2016

In a statement released by Samsung, users of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 have been told to power down and cease using the handset.

The statement includes replacement handsets, which have been found to contain a similar issue. Samsung stressed that they are “working with relevant regulatory bodies to investigate the recently reported cases”, while also announcing a global halt to sales whilst the investigation takes place.

This comes just days after several videos appeared on social media showing replacement Galaxy Note 7 handsets meeting a similar fate. A South Korean user posted a video which showed the device smoldering at a Burger King restaurant, where a member of staff had to wear oven gloves to dispose of the faulty handset. In another incident, a replacement Samsung Galaxy note 7 exploded on a plane, leading to the evacuation of the flight.

The first batch of Samsung Galaxy note 7 handsets used Samsung SDI battery cells, which was thought to be a cause of the problem. These have since been replaced in newer models, yet the problem continues to persist in a select number of devices.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 could have a deeper hardware fault

While it’s difficult to know exactly what is causing the widespread problem, industry specialists and analysts are pointing to a deeper hardware fault as the core issue. Professor Will Stewart, Vice President of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), one of the world’s largest engineering institutions, said: “It could be a battery manufacturing fault rather than a phone circuitry issue.

“These issues with Lithium batteries happen because their energy content is high per unit weight – which is great in terms of keeping phones and other devices light. But modern devices use quite a lot of power and we like to recharge them quickly – so if something does go wrong the total energy released is quite high, hence the fires.”

It’s now common knowledge that the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 launch was rushed in an attempt to take the shine from the recent Apple iPhone 7 launch. Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-hee was known to be ill and in hospital at the time, so control over the launch was passed to the younger Lee and co-vice chairman G.S. Choi. The launch was approved 10 days early, with the original date slated for August 13th.

South Korean shares are now down by 8 percent, the biggest drop since October 2008, but the bigger worry is company reputation. This is a massive PR disaster for the world’s number one smartphone manufacturer.

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