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Barely 24 hours after temporarily suspending production of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone device following a spate of battery fires, Korean electronics giant Samsung has called a permanent halt to all production and sales of the device through all channels.
In a brief statement, Samsung said: “We are working with relevant regulatory bodies to investigate the recently reported cases involving the Galaxy Note 7. Because consumers’ safety remains our top priority, Samsung will ask all carrier and retail partners globally to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note 7 while the investigation is taking place.
“We remain committed to working diligently with appropriate regulatory authorities to take all necessary steps to resolve the situation. Consumers with either an original Galaxy Note 7 or replacement Galaxy Note 7 device should power down and stop using the device and take advantage of the remedies available.”
On 10 October 2016, Samsung said it was temporarily halting production of the device in compliance with requests from various national regulators.
In response, UK mobile networks EE and Three both said they had suspended exchanges of affected devices, following the lead of US peers AT&T and T-Mobile.
O2 noted that it also stopped offering the device to customers when Samsung issued its first warning about the product in September.
An O2 spokesperson said: “We’re in the process of contacting our customers who have a Samsung Note 7. Customers with a Note 7 can call us on a dedicated number, 0333 234 1457, where we will talk through their options, including the provision of a new mobile.”
According to the BBC, Samsung had shipped around 45,000 units in Europe through pre-orders, although it should also be noted that no incidents of battery fires have been confirmed in the UK.
Samsung launched the ill-fated Note 7 in August to largely positive reviews but, following the first reports of battery fires, it was forced to announce a recall of 2.5 million devices in September 2016.
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At the time, Samsung said the recall was due to defective batteries sourced from one supplier. However, its woes deepened when replacement devices – thought to be using batteries sourced from a different supplier – began to catch fire as well, with one incident occurring on an airliner in the US.
In the wake of this turn of events, sector analysts have been quick to warn that the damage to Samsung’s heretofore good reputation could be extremely serious.
Richard Windsor of Edison Investment Research warned Samsung was likely to lose customers to other Android handsets.
He said had the initial recall been better handled, the issue would probably have blown over, however “the fact that Samsung appeared to still be shipping defective devices could trigger a large loss of faith in Samsung products”.