Sunday 20 May 2018

Samsung halt sale of Note 7 over exploding battery concerns

Michael Cogley

Michael Cogley

Samsung has suspended sales of its new flagship smartphone the Galaxy Note 7 over safety fears surrounding its battery.

A number of users have reported incidents where the battery has “exploded” while charging, rendering the phone useless.

The news comes after reports the firm was considering a major recall of the phone due to the issue.

The timing of the problems couldn't be worse for Samsung, which has continually closed the gap in the premium market on Cupertino giant Apple.

Apple is due to launch its new flagship device the iPhone 7 next week and problems around Samsung's phone could allow it to steal the march on smartphone sales in the coming year.

A spokesperson for Samsung told the Irish Independent the company had found an issue with the phone’s battery cell after a “thorough investigation”.

“To date (as of September 1) there have been 35 cases that have been reported globally and we are currently conducting a thorough inspection with our suppliers to identify possible affected batteries in the market. However, because our customers’ safety is an absolute priority at Samsung, we have stopped sales of the Galaxy Note7.

“For customers who already have Galaxy Note7 devices, we will voluntarily replace their current device with a new one over the coming weeks,” the company said.

While analysts expect the Note 7 problems to be resolved quickly, ongoing major problems could derail Samsung's mobile recovery after a string of product successes had reversed the smartphone leader's declining market share.

"They need to nip it in the bud right now. The last thing they want is for memes to be spreading on the internet associating the Samsung name with an exploding battery or injury," IDC analyst Bryan Ma said.

On Wednesday Samsung said it had halted supply of the new phone to the top three South Korean carriers and that shipments were being delayed as it conducted additional quality testing.

It did not elaborate on any problems it may have found with the gadget, which was launched in South Korea and other markets on August 19 and has been generally well-received by critics.

Investors stripped about $7bn off Samsung's market value in response to the shipment delays on Thursday, but sentiment appeared to have recovered in Friday trading. The shares rose 0.6pc compared with a 0.3pc gain for the broader market.

Additional reporting from Reuters

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