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Galaxy Note7 may be headed for the dump as carriers cancel sales

Matt Hamblen | Oct. 11, 2016
Samsung 'adjusting' production as replacement units apparently overheat, catch fire; investigations ongoing

"I've never seen in my 26 years a replacement product for a recalled product get recalled," Moorhead said.

He said if the replacement units are found to have caught fire, Samsung needs to stop production and sales of all Note7s and focus on selling other devices for the holidays, like the Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. "Then, they need to regroup with the Note8 around the Mobile World Congress timeframe," Moorhead said.

The public might be forgiving in the long run, if Samsung proceeds carefully. The public is willing to forgive and forget; analysts noted that air bags have exploded in a number of vehicles, actually killing some occupants, but buyers have still bought updated models of the same car brands with different air bags.

As for what may have gone wrong, Moorhead said the only insight he has is that with the original Note7 had one of two batteries installed -- one from a Chinese maker, the other made by Samsung. The Samsung batteries were deemed defective, so replacement units used batteries from the Chinese maker. The CPSC approved Samsung's planned fix, he said, although the agency has not formally disclosed that much detail.

If the Chinese maker's batteries are causing replacement units to catch fire or overheat, there is likely something wrong with the chemistry of the fast-charge mechanism, Moorhead said. "There may be a mismatch between the fast charging and the phone's ability to take all that energy coming in, which changes the chemistry and creates a fire," he said.

Other theories have circulated, including that the original batteries were slightly too large for the Note7 body. Samsung has not commented on any of the theories.

The CPSC on Sept. 15 issued a U.S. recall of 1 million original Note7 devices after receiving 92 reports that batteries overheated, including 26 reports of burns and 55 reports of property damage.

After Samsung began shipping replacement units, some reports of replacement units overheating surfaced and Samsung issued a statement on Sept. 30 that assured the public that its replacement Note7 smartphones were safe.


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