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Samsung Recalls Galaxy Note 7
[ Issue 148 Page 13 ] Wednesday, November 23, 2016, 19:38:51 Hyunseung Hwang Staff Reporter aguno@kaist.ac.kr

    The expectations for the Galaxy Note 7 were extremely high. Many tech reviewers had praised the Galaxy Note 7 for it featured a glorious dual curved-edge display, an excellent battery life, and one of the best camera resolutions in the smartphone market. Samsung even had to postpone the release of the Note 7 in some markets as the production was not able to meet the demand of the new phone. However, despite the positive reviews, Samsung now confronts a new problem: explosions of the lithium batteries. Lithium ion batteries are utilized in many electronics such as tablets, laptops, cars and cellphones. Most of the time lithium batteries are incredibly safe as long as the lithium fail-safes work properly. The explosions occurred due to “an overheating of the battery cell when anode-to-cathode came into contact,” according to Samsung. Live videos of the Galaxy Note 7 catching fire went viral all over the internet. In one case, a Galaxy Note 7 destroyed a Jeep by catching fire when a family left their smartphone to charge inside the Jeep in St Petersburg, Florida.

     Samsung voluntarily recalled an estimate of 2 million Galaxy Note 7s as a safety precaution against more explosions. Although only 35 of the 2.5 million devices had the defect, Samsung claims that “the move will cost us a lot of money but we made the decision for our customers’ safety.” The company also decided to recall the products sold in China for additional safety measures despite the fact that the devices were supplied by a different company. Samsung decided to provide a total refund or an exchange with a 25 dollar gift card.

     The consequences of the explosions of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 seem to be escalating. On September 8, the Federal Aviation Administration specifically instructed consumers not to use the Galaxy Note 7. On September 9, the Consumer Product Safety Commission of the United States — an agency of the United States government that promote the safety of the consumers by informing the dangers of a variety of products — advised the owners of the Galaxy Note 7 to turn off the devices and stop using them. The agency is currently working with Samsung to identify whether the new replacement is acceptable. Air safety regulators around the globe have also warned passengers not to use or recharge their smartphones while on board. Even the president of Samsung Electronics America announced that the Galaxy Note 7 should be powered off and exchanged immediately.

     Whether or not the incident will be a long-term disaster for Samsung is unclear. Some view that the quick recall decision, despite being costly considering the marginal percentage of devices with defects, will manage to settle the issue quite soon. Furthermore, analysts remained optimistic of Samsung’s anticipated earnings for the second half of 2016 due to the strength in their supply chain and manufacturing. Still, Samsung has lost the public’s trust in the mobile division after years of progress in smartphone sales. The recall itself is something the company’s major competitor, Apple, never had with their iPhones. With the smartphone market more competitive than ever, Samsung is already struck with a major disadvantage over its competitors, such as Apple, Huawei, Oppo, and Lenovo, that release new smartphones in rapid succession.

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