Exploding smartphone to reappear in overseas markets with smaller battery
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 cost the electronics giant $5 billion when they had to recall them all last year in the wake of widespread instances of the phones exploding and catching fire. Far from the millions of recalled Note 7s being disposed of, some of them will live on as Samsung will sell refurbished versions in countries including South Korea where the company are headquartered; this is part of the overall recycling and re-purposing of the smartphones made.
The Galaxy Note 7 made headline news in 2016 when instances of phones exploding and catching fire occurred. Samsung acted swiftly; the company offered those customers so affected replacements initially, but when some of these also caught fire the company ceased production of the smartphone, and invited all owners of the Note 7 to return their phones for an alternative model or a refund.
The fault was traced to the battery design, and the fiasco undoubtedly dented the company’s formidable reputation as a maker of industry leading smartphones.
Users reluctant to give up their Note 7
Amazingly, despite Samsung making it clear that all users should return their Note 7, not all did. The company set up booths at airports to ensure people didn’t take them on flights, and in New Zealand Samsung had to resort to disconnecting the service of customers still using the phone.
On the other hand, some customers attempted to bring lawsuits against the company to try and claim recompense for possible data loss, time taken to visit phone shops to exchange their Note 7, and even from the psychological harm caused from using it. Isolated cases of users suing Samsung also came to light from those suffering injury through their phone exploding.
Samsung pledged to do what they could to recycle as much of the discarded Note 7s as possible as opposed to throwing them into landfill sites around the world. Along with reusing certain components that weren’t at fault, precious metals used in the manufacture of the smartphone such as copper, nickel, gold and silver are being extracted.
The other method of reusing and repurposing the phones is the decision to resell those that can be refurbished and revised. A new, smaller battery is fitted to the phones, of which there are an estimated 2.5 million suitable for refurbishment, and reselling them with a new battery.
For customers, it’ll be much the same as buying a used phone from specialist refurbished phone companies. The countries the refurbished Note 7 will be sold in, including emerging markets such as India, Africa and Vietnam, will see a significant reduction in price compared to the original release.
What’s in a name?
Initially, it looked like the refurbished phone was going to go under the ‘Note 7S’ name, but it now looks as though it will undergo a more extensive rebranding and be sold as the ‘Galaxy Note FE’ – the ‘FE’ apparently standing for ‘fandom edition’.
The refurbished smartphone has gained FCC (Federal Communications Commission) certification so it’s definitely going to go on sale.
Samsung have appeared to move on since the Note 7 debacle; the Galaxy S7 remained a popular phone throughout this bad time in Samsung’s history and its successor, the Galaxy S8 launched at the end of April, has been a firm hit with reviewers.