Washington: Smartphone giant Samsung has said it will stop the sale of its latest flagship Galaxy Note 7 model over problems with the battery.
The decision follows reports in the US and South Korea of the phone “exploding” during or after charging. The South Korean company said in a statement it would take about two weeks to prepare replacement devices. The recall comes just one week ahead of an expected presentation of a new iPhone model from its main rival Apple. On Wednesday Samsung said it had halted shipments of the phone to the top three South Korean carriers as it conducted additional quality testing.
A YouTube user who says they live in the US uploaded a video of a Galaxy Note 7 with burnt rubber casing and damaged screen under the name Ariel Gonzalez on 29 August. He said the handset “caught fire” shortly after he unplugged the official Samsung charger, less than a fortnight after purchasing it. Further images of a burnt Galaxy Note 7 were uploaded to Kakao Story, a popular social media site in Korea, on 30 August.
A user wrote: “There was another explosion of the Galaxy Note 7. It was my friend’s phone. A Samsung employee checked the site and he is currently in talks over the compensation with Samsung. You should use its original charger just in case and leave the phone far away from where you are while charging.”
The phone was only launched on 19 August and has since them been generally well-received by critics and consumers. The Galaxy Note 7 model is the latest of Samsungs’ series of so called phablets, smartphones with very large screens and in the case of Samsung featuring a stylus. Samsung also added an iris scanner to the Note 7, which lets users unlock the phone by detecting patterns in the eyes.
In July, Samsung beat expectations with very record earnings in the latest quarter with strong smartphone sales helping the firm post its best quarterly results in more than two years. Samsung had predicted continued increase in demand for its smartphones and tablets in the second half of the year.