Samsung recalls Note 7 flagship over explosive batteries

Source: BBC

Samsung Electronics is recalling its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphone and said that battery problems were behind phones catching fire.

The decision follows reports in the US and South Korea of the phone “exploding” during or after charging.

The South Korean company said customers who had already bought the phonewould be able to swap it for a new one.

Samsung said it had been difficult to work out which phones were affected among the 2.5 million Note 7s sold.

“There was a tiny problem in the manufacturing process, so it was very difficult to figure out,” the president of Samsung’s mobile business Koh Dong-jin told reporters.

“It will cost us so much it makes my heart ache. Nevertheless, the reason we made this decision is because what is most important is customer safety,” he said.

The firm said it would take about two weeks to prepare replacement devices.

According to Samsung, the phone has been launched in 10 countries so far but with different companies supplying the batteries.

The recall comes just one week ahead of an expected presentation of a new iPhone model from its main rival Apple.

What makes lithium batteries catch fire?


Analysis: Zoe Kleinman, BBC technology reporter

This is an extraordinary decision for a tech giant to make based on so few reported incidents – Samsung says it is aware of only 35 cases worldwide.

It’s bad timing so soon after a big product launch and especially given that Samsung’s rival Apple is understood to be preparing to unveil a new iPhone.

However, the firm says it has discovered a problem with the battery cell and is halting sales while it inspects its suppliers.

People who have already bought the device – which is only available to pre-order in the UK – will be issued with a replacement.

Stories about exploding smartphone batteries do make the news from time to time – lithium ion batteries are flammable but very widely used.

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