Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Samsung's much anticipated smartphone –the Galaxy Note 7 was launched amidst a lot of fanefare last month. But little did the company know that its flagship smartphone had such a bad news in store.
The Galaxy Note series is one of the most expensive lineups made by Samsung.
Within just two weeks after the phone was launched, Samsung had to announce an unprecedented recall of 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 worldwide.
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.
The US was among the first countries to take a step following the recall. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission urged owners of the phone to turn them off and leave them off. It also said it was working with Samsung and hoped to have an official recall "as soon as possible."
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 the phones catching fire emerged even after the company's global recall.
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 India's Aviation regulator DGCA, Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Virgin Australia –are asking travellers not switch on the jumbo smartphone or put it in checked baggage, with some carriers banning the phone on flights.
SAMSUNG'S REPLACEMENT OFFER
Samsung asked users around the world to "immediately" return their existing Galaxy Note 7 and get a replacement.
"We are asking users to power down their Galaxy Note 7s and exchange them as soon as possible," said Koh Dong-jin, Samsung's mobile president. "We are expediting replacement devices so that they can be provided through the exchange program as conveniently as possible," Samsung said in an official website posting.
Consumers can visit Samsung's service centers to receive rental phones for temporary use. Samsung plans to provide Galaxy Note 7 devices with new batteries in South Korea starting September 19, but schedules for other countries vary.
THE REASON BEHIND BATTERY EXPLOSION
On its UK website, Samsung wrote: "Based on our investigation, we learned that there was an issue with the battery cell. An overheating of the battery cell occurred when the anode-to-cathode came into contact, which is a very rare manufacturing process error".
"While we have found a low risk probability of the issue occurring, at Samsung we believe that your safety is paramount and we would prefer you not to take any risks. We encourage Galaxy Note 7 consumers to take advantage of the exchange programme," it added.
According to media reports, the faulty batteries came from Samsung`s own subsidiary SDI.
"As a follow-up of the battery issue, we decided to temporarily stop using Samsung SDI`s battery for Galaxy Note 7," the Korean Herald reported, citing sources from Samsung Electronics.
Samsung SDI is reported to have supplied around 70 percent of batteries used in the Galaxy Note 7.
CAN IT DEAL WITH THE RIVALS?
The news comes at a crucial time when Samsung's archrival Apple has already unveiled its iPhone 7. In about 28 countries the iPhone has already gone for pre-order while the deliveries of the same will be made on September 16 while by September 23, the iPhone will begin shipping to 30 more countries.
Many analysts feel that the latest recall is expected to hurt its bid to outsell the iPhone 7 while arguing that Samsung had released the Note 7 early to secure a leading position in the market in advance
But now the impact of the move might be blunted.
The mobile division accounts for the lion's share of Samsung's business, but has been increasingly squeezed by competition both from Apple's iPhone and by lower-end devices from rivals such as Huawei, Xiaomi, LeEco, OnePlus, Lenovo to name a few.
After the advent of premium but affordable devices, customers are now warming up to affordable smartphones rather than opting for the costly ones.
The Galaxy Note 7 with its premium pricing and battery reputation, surely looks like a chink in Samsung's brand Armour!