Recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Phones To Be Disabled Remotely Due to Fire, Explosion Concerns
Due to continuing concerns about the risk of fires and battery explosions with recalled Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, the manufacturer has decided to remotely disable the devices.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd issued a press release last week, indicating that a software update will be released on December 19 that is designed to automatically deactivate any remaining devices still in use. The update will prevent them from being recharged and will eliminate their ability to work as a mobile device.
The disabling software notice was issued following a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 recall announced on September 15, which included roughly 1 million devices with lithium ion batteries that could overheat and catch on fire. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), at least 26 burn injuries have been reported and another 55 reports of property damage to homes and vehicles have occurred as a result of Galaxy Note 7 fires and explosions. The devices were banned from U.S. passenger aircraft, and faced other prohibitions as a result.
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As part of the original recall, Samsung implemented a replacement battery plan in September to solve the overheating problems. However, by mid-October Samsung and the CPSC had received at least 35 additional reports of the Note 7 devices overheating even after a replacement battery had been installed.
As a result of the additional problems, Samsung expanded the recall to include nearly 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 devices distributed worldwide, with most sold in the United States. In addition to the recall, Samsung ordered customers to return the devices back to their cell phone carrier to be given a refund or replacement option.
Amid the recalls and attempt to encourage customers to power down and replace the devices immediately, Samsung decided to completely scrap the production of the Note 7 devices, costing the company an estimated $20 billion.
The news release by Samsung indicates that at least 93% of all recalled Samsung Note 7 phones sold within the U.S. have been returned. However, many phones still remain in use by customers who are not aware or have refused to return the devices.
Although the decision to remotely deactivate the devices with a software update is being done to prevent further injuries and fire hazards, Verizon Communications has stated they would not take part in the update because of the added risk associated with disabling someone’s phone without having a replacement could cause.
Samsung is urging customers with Galaxy Note7 devices to immediately power them down and to contact their carrier to obtain a refund or exchange their device. Customers with additional questions regarding the recall or the software update that will be issued on December 19, may visit Samsung.com/us/note7recall for additional information.
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