Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Sales of Galaxy Note 7 halted as users warned to 'turn it off'

Samsung has "permanently" stopped making the Galaxy Note 7 phones after it could not stop the devices from catching fire.

A statement used by the company confirmed that production would stop. It is not clear what compensation, if any, Samsung will offer to affected customers who already own the device and WIRED has contacted the firm for more information.
"We can confirm the report that Samsung has permanently discontinued the production of Galaxy Note7," the South Korean company said in a statement issued on Tuesday October 11.

Before this, the firm, on October 10, warned customers about continuing to use the devices.

Owners were told to turn their phones off by the company, which stopped all sales of the phone while it investigates those that have caught fire. As reports of the company's most expensive phone catching fire have continued to surface, Samsung issued a statement saying it has asked retailers around the world to stop selling the devices.

Owners of the South Korean phone "should power down and stop using the device" immediately, Samsung said.

"We are working with relevant regulatory bodies to investigate the recently reported cases involving the Galaxy Note 7," the company said. "Because consumers’ safety remains our top priority, Samsung will ask all carrier and retail partners globally to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note 7 while the investigation is taking place."

The statement follows reports that the production of the device had been temporarily halted.

In September, Samsung was forced to suspend sales of the new phablet after reports that batteries were "exploding" and catching fire while in the hands of users, just days before the phone’s UK release. At the time, Samsung said the devices were burning up due to an “isolated battery cell issue”.

The tech giant ordered a global recall of at least 2.5 million devices, with hopes this would be the end of the crisis. It assured customers the fixed devices were safe.

However, last week a replacement Note 7 began emitting smoke on a US plane. A Southwest Airlines Co flight to Baltimore was evacuated on Wednesday after the phone started emitting smoke while the plane was at the boarding gate. The plane was evacuated and no injuries were reported.

The wife of the owner of the phone, Sarah Green, told Reuters that her husband had replaced the device about two weeks ago, after getting a text message from Samsung.

Then, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap, the company decided to temporarily halt production of the smartphone after talks with safety regulators as the replacement handsets also pose a significant fire risk and health and safety issue. This decision has now been made permanent.

In a statement released by the company, it simply said it will move quickly to investigate the reported case and work with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

“We remain in close contact with the CPSC throughout this process. If we conclude a safety issue exists, we will work with the CPSC to take immediate steps to address the situation,” said Samsung.

Samsung’s reputation as an innovative tech company has suffered since the first announcements of the faulty batteries. This comes at a particularly crucial time in the smartphone market as Apple recently announced its new iPhone 7 range and Google has revealed it is making its own smartphones, the Google Pixel, in-house for the first time. Samsung’s credibility as a smartphone pioneer will be adversely affected in this increasingly competitive market.

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