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Samsung stops selling Galaxy Note 7

September 2, 2016

The world's biggest mobile phonemaker has announced it will stop selling its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones and prepare replacement devices after a number of its premium gadgets caught fire due to battery problems.

Berlin IFA Samsung Galaxy Note 7
Image: Getty Images/AFP/T. Schwarz

Samsung suspended sales of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone on Friday, just two weeks after the flagship phone's launch. The sales halt came after the company learned of 35 cases of fire-prone battery problems.

Koh Dong-jin, president of Samsung's mobile business, told a news conference in Seoul that customers who already bought the smartphone would be able to swap them for new smartphones, regardless of when they purchased them.

The recall was global, Koh said, because the company couldn't find ways to specify exactly which phones may endanger users. As a result, Note 7s would have to be pulled from shelves in 10 countries, including South Korea and the United States.

The Samsung president also said that an investigation had found that a battery cell made by one of its two battery suppliers caused the phone to catch fire.

"There was a tiny problem in the manufacturing process so it was very difficult to find out," Koh said, without giving the name of the battery supplier.

High hopes

In recent days, some buyers reported their phones had caught fire or exploded while charging, sharing the photos of scorched phones on social media. There have been no reports of injuries related to the problem, though.

Since the product's launch on August 19, Samsung sold more than 1 million of its latest high-end gadget. Some 2.5 million have already been manufactured and are still in inventory. Koh said they also would be returned and swapped with new ones.

The company estimates that it will take about two weeks to begin the recall. China is not affected by the sales suspension because the batteries of smartphones sold there are made by another supplier.

The South Korean firm has pinned its hopes on the Note 7 to maintain strong sales momentum in the second half against stiffening competition from the likes of Apple, which is expected to release its latest iPhone next week.

IDC analyst Bryan Ma told the news agency AFP that Samsung was eager to nip emerging doubts about the gadget in the bud right now. "The last thing they want is for memes to be spreading on the internet associating the Samsung name with an exploding battery or injury."

uhe/cjc (Reuters, AFP, dpa)