SEOUL: Samsung urged South Korean consumers Saturday to stop using its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, following a similar warning by the US consumer agency and several airlines that fear battery explosions.
The South Korean electronics giant last week suspended sales of its latest flagship smartphone and announced a recall of 2.5 million units already sold, after faulty batteries caused some handsets to explode during charging.
Since then, airlines or air safety agencies around the world including the US and Singapore have warned passengers against using them on flights. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission Friday urged Note 7 owners to stop using it.
“We advise South Korean consumers using the Galaxy Note 7 to stop using the device and to visit nearest service centres to take necessary steps,” Samsung said on its website.
It advised consumers to use replacement phones which would be temporarily loaned by the firm until a new Galaxy Note 7 equipped with fault-free batteries is provided.
Since the global launch of the oversized “phablet” smartphone in August, several users have posted images on social media showing the charred device, saying it suddenly caught fire.
Samsung last week admitted the problem was caused by a faulty battery cell and announced the recall – the first large-scale recall of one of Samsung’s top of the range phones.
The battery explosion, which dealt a major blow to Samsung’s reputation, also forced it to postpone the device’s planned launch in Europe in September.
Mobile business accounts for a major share of profits at Samsung, which is the world’s largest smartphone maker but also produces home appliances and memory chips.
Samsung, increasingly squeezed by Apple’s iPhone in the high-end segment and Chinese rivals in the low-end market, launched the Note 7 earlier than expected – ahead of the September 7 launch of the iPhone 7.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2016.