In an unprecedented move, Samsung has moved swiftly to halt sales and issue a recall on its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy Note 7. With millions already sold all over the world, it is likely to be the first recall in this industry in such scale.
But what exactly happened, and why is there a sudden worldwide statement released by Samsung? Here, we attempt to break down the series of events, as well as what to do if you’re a Galaxy Note 7 owner in Malaysia.
What Started It All?
A photo began spreading on social media of a charred Galaxy Note 7 with a charging cable still inserted to it just over a week ago. Claims of the device spontaneously exploding while charging led to reports appearing online – most dismissed it as a one-off, considering the photo clearly shows a USB Type C adapter being used. It may have been that the owner was charging it with a non-Samsung certified charger.
Then, other incidents began to appear. All of them centred around the device either being charged, or overheating from normal usage, leading to the untimely end of the device. Most of these cases also happened mainly in South Korea.
This prompted Samsung to conduct an investigation on the matter. The investigation found 35 cases globally, and the root cause appears to be a bad batch of batteries; Samsung concluded the investigation by stating this issue only affects 24 units per million (that’s 0.0024%) of all devices in the market currently.
That said, the company is issuing a global recall of all Galaxy Note 7 devices sold so far. The South Korean giants is offering a replacement unit for all current Note 7 owners, instead of identifying the bad batch.
How Big Is The Recall?
The Galaxy Note 7 went on sale in most major markets globally from 19 August 2016. Given Samsung’s distribution scale, the figures rose quickly into the millions across North America, Europe, and Asia.
In Malaysia, 8,000 units were made available here as part of a pre-order campaign involving Samsung, local carriers, and a few retail partners. From what we understand, there has been no reported cases of the Galaxy Note 7 catching fire or exploding in Malaysia.
Why Recall All Note 7 When Only A Batch Is Affected?
Samsung may have ways to identify which units are affected, but that would involve users looking up the serial number and searching for a specific string of letters and numbers.
As can be seen from the recent Honda-Takata airbags issue, some owners simply are not cooperative even when contacted to send their cars for immediate airbag replacement.
By issuing a recall to all owners, Samsung is ensuring it has taken all necessary steps to ensure the smoothest of transitions, even if Note 7 owners would have to wait for a while before they get a replacement unit.
On a related note, issuing a replacement unit is also beneficial to Samsung in two ways: first, the costs involved in replacing the battery on a device that’s designed to be sealed against water and dust may be too high, and take too much time. Secondly, the company is showing the world it is sparing no costs to ensure its customers are safe – for every dollar spent replacing the Note 7, the company is earning priceless PR value and brand recognition from consumers.
I’m A Galaxy Note 7 Owner. What Should I Do?
UPDATE 6/9/2016: Samsung has officially disclosed more details regarding the Note 7 replacement in Malaysia. The section below has been updated to reflect the new information.
In Malaysia, Samsung is requesting all Note 7 owners to call its premium careline at 1-800-88-7799 for more information about the exchange program here.
All Galaxy Note 7 pre-order customers are advised to stop using their devices immediately as a safety precaution. From 29 September 2016, customers can pick up the replacement unit at the location where the device was picked up from after the pre-order campaign.
Returned Galaxy Note 7 must be the full retail store, which includes the smartphone, charger, USB cable and adapter, as well as the earphones.
A Samsung Malaysia PR representative confirms that there will be no waiting list or limited units for the replacement devices. All owners will receive a replacement device from 29 September.
The Galaxy Note 7 is arguably the best smartphone in the market right now (stay tuned for our review!), and it is a crushing blow for Samsung that it is facing this issue. However, what should have been a defining product in the company’s storied history will now be seen as a good example in crisis management.
Sure, the company may have lost $7 billion in value in the stock market, and faces a potential pummeling should Apple’s upcoming iPhone 7 proves better than expected. But at the very least, Samsung has taken all necessary steps to ensure nobody is sold a faulty Note 7, and current owners are guaranteed a brand new device that doesn’t pose a life risk – all before it could potentially boil over.