Samsung said it has a partial fix for its dangerously hot Galaxy Note 7 smartphone batteries and will soon be downloading it to users’ phones.
Samsung, which is based in Seoul, said it will soon send out a system update that won’t let Note 7 batteries charge past 60 percent, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
That will cut the phone’s battery life almost in half, but it should keep the phones’ batteries from overheating which charging, which the company says is happening because of a “very rare manufacturing process error.”
At the same time, Samsung has urged users to turn off their Note 7s immediately and get them replaced.
And the company hasn’t clarified whether it believes the updated software going out soon will make the phones permanently safe to use — or how it can push the update to a phone if you’ve followed its advice and turned the phone off.
That’s not the only confusion arising from Samsung’s recall of 2.5 million units of its flagship device for 2016, touted as a direct competitor to Apple’s new iPhone 7.
In the United States, Samsung says it plans to start sending out replacement phones pending approval from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, or CPSC. But the CPSC has issued only a strongly worded “consumer warning” calling for consumers to “power down their devices.” So far, the agency hasn’t announced a formal U.S. recall.
Early this month, Samsung said it had received 35 reports of Note 7s’ catching fire or even exploding, 17 of them in the United States. That was on Sept. 1, and there’s been no official update of that number, from either Samsung or any government agency.
Early this month, Samsung said it had received 35 reports of Note 7s’ catching fire or even exploding, 17 of therm in the United States. That was on Sept. 1, and there’s been no official update of that number, from either Samsung or any government agency.
And when that happens, you can get “overheating, and possible fire [or] explosion,”Kalra said on Drexel’s blog.
Samsung says it will replace people’s current Note 7s with new ones “over the coming weeks.” Those details haven’t been announced.
The major U.S. carriers all stopped selling the phone. AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon all said they would swap it out for any other phone, which you can keep or trade back in later for the new, presumably safe Note 7.
What happens to Samsung?
For now, it has lost a lot of money — more than $14.3 billion through Monday as investors have hung up on the company.
For the future, it remains to be seen whether the Note brand can recover its luster.
“They were hoping this was the best phone that’s ever been released,” Sreenivasan said in an interview on CNBC. “In fact, it’s going to go down as one of the worst.”
As for Samsung, itself, analysts generally told CNBC that it’s big and nimble enough to sustain the damage.
And losses could extend far into the future. Samsung said that from now on, it will use batteries only from the Chinese company Amperex in the Note 7, Yonhap reported.
Samsung will now have to buy those batteries instead of using ones it made itself — which were in 70 percent of all 2.5 million Note 7s sold to date.