The Galaxy Note 7 could have done so much for Samsung. The ill-fated flagship had a lot of potential. When the handset was unveiled in August this year many suggested that it would turn out to be Samsung’s best-selling smartphone and would carry the impressive sales momentum set by the Galaxy S7 series. It all went south when reports started surfacing that the Galaxy Note 7’s battery was catching fire for no apparent reason.
Samsung investigated the reports and found that there was a battery cell issue in the batteries it was sourcing from one supplier, reportedly its own battery making division, so the company said that it would voluntarily replace all units and ship safe ones with batteries from another supplier. That should have been the end of it but alas, it wasn’t. Even replacement handsets that were meant to be safe started catching fire and it gradually became evident that Samsung would have to take the hit and cancel the Galaxy Note 7.
That’s precisely what the company did a couple of weeks ago. After countless reports of replacement units catching fire, Samsung decided that it could no longer risk hurting its brand value and that the Galaxy Note 7 had to be discontinued. The flagship is no longer being produced and will no longer be sold. Samsung has launched compensation programs to try and get people to turn in their Galaxy Note 7 but it’s not proving to be an easy task.
It was estimated that more than 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 units were out there when Samsung announced that the handset is being discontinued. The company has been repeatedly calling on users to exchange their units for another Samsung smartphone or even for another manufacturer’s device. It’s just urging them to power down the Galaxy Note 7 and turn it in as soon as possible. Samsung has many loyal customers, and quite a few of them are being very loyal by sticking with a device that’s a potential fire hazard, nevermind the fact that they can’t actually travel with it anywhere because the Note 7 has been banned from airplanes, trains, and even trucks. According to a recent estimate, more than one million units are still being used despite repeated warnings by Samsung and consumer protection agencies.
One of the ways Samsung has been trying to nudge users in the right direction is by rolling out a software update for the Galaxy Note 7 that limits battery charge to 60 percent. Samsung says that this is a precautionary measure as it reduces the odds of the battery catching fire, that doesn’t mean users should consider 60 percent to be the new normal and continue using their device. The update was first rolled out in Australia and will now be released in Europe and South Korea later this week.
Two weeks ago we conducted a poll and asked our readers if they are planning on keeping their Galaxy Note 7. Unsurprisingly, 55 percent of those who voted said that they are keeping the device and don’t care about the consequences while 32 percent said that they have returned it. Only 13 percent said they won’t use the device but will keep it as memorabilia. Some of the points that our readers raised in the comments section are interesting, to say the least.
Many Galaxy Note 7 owners said that they haven’t experienced any issues with their unit, they’ve never even felt that the device was overheating. They recognize that the Galaxy Note 7 is a great smartphone and despite the fact that it has no future, they’re adamant about using it no matter what happens. While that sort of loyalty is commendable, it’s most certainly risky as well.
Samsung is still not sure what caused the replacement units to catch fire so some are still holding on to their units until there’s more information about the cause. They will only make a decision to participate in the recall once there’s more clarity on the cause but who knows how long that’s going to take. Samsung has vowed to keep investigating and it will make the results public when some concrete evidence is found.
Those who have returned the Galaxy Note 7 have done so with a heavy heart, but they respect the decision Samsung made to discontinue the device as reports of units catching fire were coming in consistently and since the company didn’t know the root cause it could do nothing to fix it. Samsung was only going to sit idle for so long and watch its latest flagship go up in flames while it was castrated in the media for putting its customers at risk. It had to make that painful decision so they respect the company for it and have taken part in the recall.
Samsung’s priority right now is to get all Galaxy Note 7 units off the street and rightly so. The handset can catch fire unexpectedly and with such intensity that it can cause serious damage. I believe those who are still holding on to one are being reckless just because they think that the odds are in their favor. They are willing to put their safety and that of their loved ones at risk only because they think it won’t happen to their unit while we all know that there’s no way to be completely sure of that.
If there are still a lot of holdouts after it finally reaches a conclusion as to what caused the units to catch fire, Samsung might have to take some drastic steps. One of the steps that we can expect the company to take is to halt security and firmware updates for the Galaxy Note 7. Those who keep on holding to their unit may have to continue using it on outdated software and that’s really not a good thing. Samsung also has the option to remotely disable the Galaxy Note 7 so that it’s nothing but an expensive paperweight. The company hasn’t talked about taking any such steps so far but it may be pushed to do so when Galaxy Note 7 holdouts refuse to budge and it just wants to be done with the ill-fated flagship once and for all. The longer they keep using it the harder it will become to hold Samsung accountable should something go horribly wrong as a result of the Galaxy Note 7 catching fire. Samsung has reiterated multiple times what users should do and if they choose to ignore its warnings until something bad happens, who do you think will have a stronger position?
So if you’re one of those users I personally think you should listen to what Samsung has reiterated time and again now and take part in the replacement program. There’s going to be a new Note flagship next year so it’s not like this is going to be the end of Samsung’s phablet lineup. Recognize the fact that there is a world beyond the Galaxy Note 7 and that it’s just not worth it anymore.