Replacement Galaxy Note 7 Units Also Catching Fire, Samsung Halts Production

10 October 2016

Wall Street Journal:

Samsung Electronics Co. has temporarily halted production of its troubled Galaxy Note 7, according to a person familiar with the matter, the latest setback for the South Korean technology giant as it struggles to manage a recall of 2.5 million smartphones.

The move comes after a spate of fresh reports of overheating and fires with phones that have been distributed to replace the original devices, which also had a risk of catching fire.

It was embarrassing enough to have the flagship Note 7 catching fire in the first place, let alone that the replacement devices (which included firmware to display the battery indicator as a ‘safe’ green colour) also seem to have the same fault. I think Samsung has been lucky that none of these reported cases have resulted in serious injury.

I’m not sure how many more chances Samsung gets to fix the problem before regulators enforce a sales ban. Reports indicated that the company believed the problem with the original devices was the battery itself; the replacement devices used batteries from other suppliers. With those now spontaneously combusting as well, it seems more likely that the issue is inherent to the design of the phone, rather than an isolated defective component.

I’m assuming Samsung will take its time before releasing its replacements for the replacements, so the Note 7 will almost certainly miss the holiday sales window.