After just two weeks on sale and 35 faulty phone batteries so far, Samsung issues a global recall and promises to replace every unit already sold.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 problems are just heating up.
The Korean electronics conglomerate on Friday issued a global recall for its new Galaxy Note 7 phone due to problems with the device’s battery. The company’s flagship device has been on sale worldwide for just two weeks.
After announcing that it had “paused” sales of the device in Australia late on Friday local time, Samsung issued a statement confirming that it would stop further sales of the Note 7 after discovering a “battery cell issue.”
The recall comes at a critical time for Samsung, as Apple prepares to unveil its latest iPhone next Wednesday. If the problem persists, it could threaten the momentum Samsung has enjoyed over the last few months, fueled by the success of the Galaxy S7. With the successful launch of the Note 7 last month and the Gear S3 at the IFA trade show this week, the company was starting to get its swagger back.
Samsung said it had received 35 separate reports of battery issues worldwide, leading it to conduct a “thorough investigation” into the problem. The company will now set about identifying other “affected batteries” in the market.
Furthermore, the company says it will voluntarily replace every Note 7 already in the market “over the coming weeks. Detail on this recall and replacement program are not yet known.
It’s not the first time Samsung has had trouble with its Note line. Last year, users complained of a design flaw in the Note 5 that led to problems when the phone’s stylus was into the phone the wrong way. Similarly, Apple stared down its own “Antennagate” crisis in 2010, when iPhone 4 users complained of losing signal when the phone was held in a certain way.
But the Note 7 recall eclipses both these issues. And with 1 million Note 7 devices reportedly already sold, replacing every phone sold will be a Herculean task, and one that is expected to impact the company’s bottom line.
Samsung will provide more instructions on the replacement process next week, but for now, the company is in damage control after pulling its hottest new phone from the shelves so quickly after launch.
There’s definitely damage done and the whole incident is detrimental to Samsung’s image,” said IDC analyst Tay Xiaohan. “However, the level of damage will depend on how Samsung addresses this issue quickly and solves the problem.”
The timing is bad, though. Counterpoint Research analyst Tarun Pathak says that Samsung has “lost the critical window of opportunity” of time where buyers would look to upgrade from older devices. In a matter of weeks, he says, many will look to Apple’s upcoming iPhone 7.