Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 recall couldn’t happen at a worse time for the company.
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It’s a bit of a bad joke, but you can see Apple executives making it – that the new iPhone will feature a non-exploding battery – in their launch event next week.
It would of course be a dig at their chief rival Samsung, which has announced a massive recall of the recently launched Galaxy Note 7. The smartphone’s battery, it turns out, is at risk of exploding thanks to improper quality control during manufacturing.
“To date, there have been 35 cases that have been reported globally and we are currently conducting a thorough inspection with our suppliers to identify possible affected batteries in the market. However, because our customers’ safety is an absolute priority at Samsung, we have stopped sales of the Galaxy Note7,” the company said in a statement.
Ten countries including the United States and Canada are affected by the recall. Samsung spokespeople did not immediately respond to a request for information on what buyers here should do.
The company plans to replace all 2.5 million units sold so far with brand new ones.
To say that the recall is an embarrassment for the South Korean company – and an unfortunately timed one – would be an understatement. Not only is it happening just before the new iPhone launch, it’s also just as Samsung was beginning to get some phone sales momentum back.
The Galaxy S7, released earlier this year, sold well and the Note 7 was supposed to keep that trend going.
Koh Dong-jin, head of the company’s smartphone division, put it bluntly: “I can’t comment on exactly how much the cost will be, but it pains my heart that it will be such a big number.”
Indeed, the damage to the Samsung brand will be hard to quantify. Not only does the quality of the company’s products take a hit, the recall will inevitably aggrieve millions of consumers who have already come on board. How many will swap their Note 7 devices for the iPhone 7?
I recently reviewed the Note 7 – the battery has yet to explode, fortunately – and found it to be an excellent device despite the extraneous gimmicks, such as an iris scanner that lets you unlock it with your eyes.
UPDATE: A spokesperson for Samsung Canada has replied with the following information:
“For customers who already have Galaxy Note 7 devices, we will voluntarily replace their current device with a new one over the coming weeks. Canadian Customers may call 1-800-SAMSUNG for additional information.
“We acknowledge the inconvenience this may cause in the market but this is to ensure that Samsung continues to deliver the highest quality products to our customers. We are working closely with our partners to ensure the replacement experience is as convenient and efficient as possible.”