The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 came on with a lot of hype, fueled by a camera that led the pack. Recently, however, the hype has burned out – quite literally. Device fires have forced airlines to specifically call out the maligned product, prohibiting it from being on planes (one US flight was evacuated after one of the device started smoking in the cabin) — and the company has gone as far as to instruct customers to simply “turn off” the device until it completes its investigation of further device fire reports. Samsung has additionally issued a statement asking that all sales stop while the company works with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to investigate the issue.
After a very public warning of the original phablets catching fire, the company issued a recall which told people to exchange the potentially faulty phones (2.5m original Note 7s were affected) for replacement phones. Unfortunately, there were reports of the replacement phones also catching fire. While it is unclear what led to the phones random meltdowns, rumors swirled that it was a battery issue, but Samsung went with a different battery maker and some replacement phones still burned. So, the company issued a statement, reported by several news outlets, including Engadget, saying:
"We are working with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to investigate the recently reported cases involving the Galaxy Note7. Because consumers' safety remains our top priority, Samsung will ask all carrier and retail partners globally to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note7 while the investigation is taking place.
"We remain committed to working diligently with the CPSC, carriers and our retail partners to take all necessary steps to resolve the situation. Consumers with an original Galaxy Note7 or replacement Galaxy Note7 should power down and take advantage of the remedies available, including a refund at their place of purchase."
While that might sound like a recall, the company hasn’t used that terminology, since it has very specific legal implications. It removed verbiage on the original recall site that said that the “recalled” Note 7 could be exchanged for a replacement Note 7.
The CPSC, which is in charge of consumer product recalls, told The Verge that “we are not calling it a recall,” instead issuing an official “government warning from the Chairman” of the commission. Essentially, the original phones have been recalled but the replacements have not, but people are encouraged to shut off their Note 7s and return them.
This action could be the final straw for the flawed product and potentially a huge black eye for the electronics giant, which was counting on the Note 7 to be a superstar. Apple and Google, which announced its own smartphone, could benefit from the situation.
Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at market researcher Creative Strategies told USA Today that “Some buyers might have been upgrading from the Galaxy S line in which case they might now still look at that or look at a Pixel.”