The Galaxy Note 7 is On Fire. Literally

If you’re using a Galaxy Note 7 smartphone-tablet hybrid (or “phablet,” if you want to sully the glorious tradition of the portmanteau), you should stop doing so immediately. Samsung, the manufacturer of said devices, has issued a recall for EVERY SINGLE GALAXY NOTE 7 EVER MADE. Numbers are a little hard to pin down, but that’s anywhere from one million to 2.5 million units worldwide—big time stuff.

So what’s the problem that lead to the recall? Nothing major, really. It’s just that they might explode whilst charging. NBD.

Should've installed the "Please Don't Explode" app.

Should’ve installed the “Please Don’t Explode” app.

Sorry Google–This is the REAL Fire Phone

The recall comes after a number of incidents in which users reported their Galaxy Note 7s caught fire and/or exploded while the battery was charging. In one fairly high profile incident, the user reportedly heard a “sudden bang” (is there any other kind of bang?) before finding his device enveloped in flame. He subsequently shared photos of the aftermath through Baidu*.

Another, similar incident not long after lead Samsung to pull the plug on Note 7 production, shipments, and sales. Overall, there have been roughly 35 “hey my phone just blew up” reports, though not all of them are confirmed. Thirty-five out of two million might seem like a fairly low percentage, but the potential for complete disaster is high enough that it’s clear that Samsung made the right move. It’ll no doubt be a huge blow to their sales and reputation, but not so huge an impact as an event in which the exploding phone burned someone’s house down and/or killed somebody. They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but that sort of thing would certainly qualify as an exception.

Wasted Potential

It’s a shame that the Galaxy Note 7 is a potential death trap. The device has often been hailed as the best Android phone yet developed by man or ape, and included a number of innovations and advancements over previous iterations.

Samsung issued a statement to accompany the recall. It read, in part:

“Samsung is committed to producing the highest quality products and we take every incident report from our valued customers very seriously. In response to recently reported cases of the New Galaxy Note 7, we conducted a thorough investigation and found a battery cell issue. […] Because our customers’ safety is an absolute priority […], we have stopped sales of the Galaxy Note 7.”

The full statement included a note (pun intended) that Samsung will voluntarily replace all users’ devices within the next several weeks. Though the company does “acknowledge the inconvenience this may cause,” there’s no mention of what actions users should take in the interim, or if there’s anything Note 7 owners can do to minimize the risk of fire and/or explosion.

If you’re using a Galaxy Note 7 smartphone-tablet hybrid, friend, please proceed with caution for the time being. I need all the readers I can get, and you need to not catch fire nor explode.

* China’s Google, kind of

Photo credit: Janitors via Foter.com / CC BY

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