Galaxy Note 7 battery issue: Has Samsung done enough to restore customer confidence?
Samsung Electronics is urging consumers worldwide to stop using Galaxy Note 7 smartphones immediately and exchange them as soon as possible.
Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Samsung Electronics is urging consumers worldwide to stop using Galaxy Note 7 smartphones immediately and exchange them as soon as possible.
As more reports of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones catching fire emerged even after the company's global recall, Samsung Electronics has been urging consumers worldwide to stop using the smartphones immediately and exchange them as soon as possible,
The call from the South Korean company, the world's largest smartphone maker, comes after US authorities urged users to switch the Galaxy Note 7 off and not to use or charge it during a flight.
Several airlines around the world asked travellers not switch on the jumbo smartphone or put it in checked baggage, with some carriers banning the phone on flights.
Earlier this month, Samsung announced an unprecedented recall of 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7s worldwide just two weeks after the phone was launched. That move came after Samsung's investigation into reports of fires found that rechargeable lithium batteries manufactured by one of its suppliers were at fault.
Samsung released the Galaxy Note 7 on August 19. The Galaxy Note series is one of the most expensive lineups made by Samsung.
Samsung said Wednesday it was doing its best to push through a challenging recall of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, as it offered a software fix to jolt users into returning defective devices.
In an effort to steal a march on Apple, the Note 7 was given an early launch in the key US market, making that a priority for the recall effort.
Samsung is working with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, but has yet to provide a specific date for replacing returned units.
In a half-page advert carried by major South Korean newspapers on last Wednesday, Samsung announced a Note 7 software update that will limit battery recharges to 60 percent of capacity.
It would prevent the phones from overheating, and thus exploding, but would effectively mean a downgrade of the high-end device -- and therefore an incentive to turn it in.
Wednesday`s newspaper ads also carried a message of "deep, sincere apology" and a vow to retain the "love and trust" of Samsung consumers.
Samsung also said it will forcibly limit the Galaxy Note 7 battery to be charged to only 60 percent of its capacity by using its so-called over-the-air (OTA) update technology to further prevent possible mishaps.
With the OTA update, users of the Galaxy Note 7 will be prevented from fully charging their devices. The measure is meant to prevent battery overheating and enhance consumer safety, said the officials.
In a separate measure to promote the replacement programme, Samsung said it will consider paying a communication expense subsidy to customers choosing to exchange their Note 7 devices instead of demanding a refund.
What does the recall entail?
The recall comes at a particularly sensitive time, with Samsung`s mobile division finally showing some real momentum after two years of profit growth declines in an increasingly competitive and saturated market.
The degree of long-term damage is still difficult to estimate.
The mobile business accounts for a major share of profits at Samsung, which is the world`s largest smartphone maker but also produces home appliances and memory chips.
Nomura has cut its profit forecast for Samsung`s mobile division in the third quarter by 900 billion won (800 million dollars) to 3.1 trillion won.
The success of the recall is seen as crucial to Samsung retaining brand trust and loyalty and preventing customers defecting to arch-rival Apple`s new iPhone 7 or cheaper Chinese-made models.
Will it restore customer confidence?
Samsung had advised consumers in 10 countries to trade their handsets for temporary replacement phones provided by the firm until it releases new Note 7s.
But many users have snubbed the offer, choosing to wait until the new phones were available, citing the inconvenience of switching devices for an interim period.
And different regulatory practices in different countries -- as well as varying reactions from carriers -- have caused a degree of customer uncertainty and confusion that is hampering Samsung`s efforts to get the recall behind it as quickly and painlessly as possible.
The automatic update for South Korean users will take place on Tuesday (September 20), a day after Samsung begins to hand out new Note 7 handsets with fault-free batteries.
The Note 7 debuted to rave reviews in August thanks to its speed, new software features and not least the estimated nine hours it would run between charges.
Time also is a factor in marketing and making the phones. In 2015, Samsung moved up its unveiling of its new Galaxy Note model to August from September, seeking a leg up on Apple's September iPhone upgrades.
Samsung's recall of 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 phones highlights the challenge electronics makers face in packing ever more battery power into ever thinner phones, while rushing for faster release dates.
With Agency Inputs