The Samsung Galaxy Note7 Recall Crisis: Explained

In a further blow to Samsung’s chances to gain some lost market-share, the Note7 has been stopped in its tracks and put on hold. With new reports of replacement units of the latest flagship from the Korean phone-maker also catching fire, it seems things are getting too hot to handle. There is no choice left but to halt the production of the Note7, as per newest updates from Korea.

The Note7 might not come back in production | Photomans / Shutterstock.com
The Note7 might not come back in production | Photomans / Shutterstock

But, where did it all go wrong? It’s a long road that the brand will walk and surely various agencies will get involved too, but for now, it’s safe to suggest that the Note7 isn’t in our recommended list of phones. This wasn’t always the case, though. I, for one, was quite excited about the launch of the Note7. It was hot property when it did launch, but it quickly went from hot to burning hot. Here’s what we know, happened.

Phones Can Catch Fire

Before we proceed, we’d like to point out that phones can sometimes catch fire. Even Apple with all its high quality assurances and checks isn’t immune to this fact. We know and acknowledge this, we’ve also done a deep-dive into why smartphone batteries catch fire. Do read that if you haven’t already and know that we aren’t condoning Samsung in any way. But, this is a serious safety matter and we’d like to bring only the facts to everyone.

Photo via Shutterstock
Photo via Shutterstock

Nothing more, nothing less.

Timeline of Events

August 2: Samsung unveils the Galaxy Note7

At a gala event in New York, Samsung ‘unpacked’ the Note7. It was seen as a nice upgrade to the S7 edge, with a better stylus from the previous Note phone. It was waterproof too. (Just saying!).

August 17: Gorilla Glass 5 Sratches!

In a YouTube video, the Note7’s Gorilla Glass 5 comes under the scanner for not being enough scratch resistant as the previous generation Gorilla Glass.

Is Gorilla Glass tough enough for a hammer? | Shutterstock
Is Gorilla Glass tough enough for a hammer? | Shutterstock

However, this affected Corning (the manufacturer of Gorilla Glass) in the spotlight more than Samsung.

August 19: Samsung Galaxy Note7 sales begin

In U.S., Korea and a few other countries, the shipping of the Note7 begins. Till this point, all is well in the Samsung universe.

August 24: First Note 7 Explosion News

The first sign of trouble came from Korea where a charging Note7 exploded and turned to charcoal. This could’ve been a one-off incident for Samsung and easily brushed off like the (few) iPhone cases.

August 31: Shipments Delayed

After a few other random reports of Note7 unexpectedly catching fire, Samsung decided that the logical thing to do was to delay shipments and re-check the quality of batteries supplied with it.

September 2: Recall of All Faulty Units

In an unprecedented move, Samsung ordered a recall of all 2.5 million units that had shipped out till this point. The brand said that they will replace the old Note7 units with fixed new ones.

September 8: U.S. Authorities Issue Notices

The U.S. advised passengers to not turn on or charge Note 7 smartphones aboard aircraft or stow them in plane cargo. A day later, on the 9th, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission urges Galaxy Note 7 users to stop using their phone.

In light of recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices, the Federal Aviation Administration strongly advises passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircraft and not to stow them in any checked baggage.

September 16: Lawsuits Begin

A man in Florida squarely blames Samsung for their carelessness in the production of the Note7 and sues them when his Note7 caught fire. On the same day, Samsung had resumed sales of the Note7s in South Korea.

September 19: Exchange Program in Korea

Samsung proceeds with the exchange program in Korea, accepting old units from all customers and replacing them with ‘safer’ new units. Also on the 19th, a Chinese man claims his Note7 caught fire, but Samsung claims that it was due to external heating and not any fault of the batteries in the Note7.

September 22: Delay in Re-sale

In Korea, Samsung delays the re-sale of the Note7 by 3 days to further investigate safety of its product.

September 29: Safer Battery Now?

Samsung goes on to say that more than a million users are now using the Note7 with the safer battery. Apparently, the worst is behind them.

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

October 1: Re-selling Begins

In Korea, Samsung starts re-selling the Note7.

October 6: Replaced Unit on Fire

Trouble brews again for the Korean giants when a Southwest Airline flight is evacuated due to smoke coming from a Note7.

October 10: More Delays and Adjustments

Finally, after more delays and adjustments, the phone-maker seems to have been pushed into a corner. The latest we’ve heard is that the production is apparently on hold.

Too Dangerous, or a Slip Up?

What are your thoughts on the Note7 recall crisis so far? Is it a major slip up or a lapse that is too dangerous to ignore? Have you lost faith in the brand? Let us know in our comments section.

ALSO READ: 4 Phones to Consider In Place of Your Recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Chaitanya Tapase

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