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Samsung suspends Galaxy Note 7 production after replacements also catch fire

10 October 2016

Samsung Electronics suspended production of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, Reuters said on October 10, quoting an un-named source. This follows reports of fires in replacement devices, including one that caused the evacuation of a passenger plane in Louisville on October 5 and an earlier bedroom fire caused by a Note 7 in Kentucky.

On September 2, Samsung announced a global recall of 2.5 million Note 7s due to faulty batteries which caused some of the phones to catch fire. It ordered new batteries from another supplier and started shipping replacements to customers just two weeks later. But similar problems seem to be affecting the replacement Note 7s.

US and international airline and package-delivery services have banned the smartphones, and leading commentators are saying the Samsung brand is being seriously damaged by the company’s seeming inability to rectify the problems it is having with the lithium-ion batteries in the Note 7.

An article in Fortune magazine quotes Mark Johnson, an associate professor of operations management at Warwick Business School in the UK, saying: “Samsung may now be stuck with an expensive and reputation denting second recall. Having a second recall will be costly and may result in the electronics giant cancelling the phone. The latest in a long line of incidents affecting the Samsung Note 7 indicates that there may be much more at fault with the phone than just faulty batteries from a supplier.”

Samsung’s brand was already affected after the first round of explosions. A survey from SurveyMonkey last month showed 26% of Note 7 owners were planning to switch to an iPhone. The same survey found just 18% of Galaxy Note 7 owners would opt for a replacement Note 7. A different study published last month by research company Branding Brand found 34% of customers would not consider buying another device from Samsung. This number could grow if a second recall takes place.

Update:

On October 11, Samsung urged owners of the Galaxy Note 7 to turn off their smartphones, including replacement devices, while it investigates new reports of them catching fire. The company also said it would stop all sales of the phone.


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