In August of 2016, we wrote about the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. The phone gave a good initial impression and the review from other reviewers were also exciting. The phone was announced on 2016, August 11th in India, and the sales were supposed to start on September 2nd for both India and Nepal. However, the news of the phone catching on fire came to rise. A lot happened in the industry and finally, Samsung shuts down Galaxy Note 7 production and sales. This is the whole story and everything that has happened till now in the world and in Nepal regarding the Note7.
Samsung Nepal was all prepared to launch the Galaxy Note 7 in the market on 2016, September 2nd. However, the problem and news of the Galaxy Note 7 became widespread. So the company took the best action and stopped sales. Samsung called back all the Note 7 in the market and even from consumers. Everyone was requested to give their phone back. Carriers and Samsung offered refunds and credits to cover the issues.
In Nepal, many people bought the Note 7 from the grey market, and even they had to return the handset to the seller. After the first recall, Samsung relaunched the phone in the market with safety checks, charge safety, and a green icon for the battery. The green battery icon helped to distinguish the new relaunched model. However, those models also started showing problems and on October 11th of 2016, the company recalled all the phones back again.
Recalls and Issues
Before the official launch and recall, both Nepali and Indian markets were filled with grey market Galaxy Note 7. Some people bought them in hurry and some bought them due to a lack of information. In other countries, many people were already enjoying the new phone with no issues. Slowly the fire incidents became widespread and it caught up. Phones were catching fire while charging and inside cars.
Actually, there were two recalls. At first, the company shipped back the phone with some checks in place and software updates. Then again a second recall happened which finally meant a stop in the production and sales altogether. All of this caused Samsung to receive a big backlash from this accident. They suffered a loss of an estimated $2 billion on recall and $21 billion in share value. It has been estimated that the company had lost about $3.1 billion due to the second recall.
The final recall decision was taken when even the so-called safe Note 7 were reported to heat and explode. Many people were expecting a second recall to fix things but Samsung actually pulled the plug. Samsung actually did what was best for consumers and itself. They had a hugely successful momentum after the Galaxy S7 and even kept it for the Note 7 launch.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 was supposed to keep the dice rolling and gain over the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. However, the production of the new smartphone had some faults. This fiasco is one of the biggest incidents in the history of consumer electronics.
Samsung Galaxy Note 7 Ban in Nepali Airlines
After the recalled Note 7 caught fire in the USA, the problem became severe. US airline companies started asking their passengers to turn off Note 7. Various domestic airlines also imposed a ban on Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in Nepal. Buddha Air, Tara, NAC, Yeti, and Simrik are some of the Nepali companies which have prohibited the use of Note 7 in their flights.
Many foreign government agencies and airlines banned the phone on flights and other modes of transportation. The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) even banned Galaxy Note 7 on international flights. All these bans were on a device that didn’t even officially launch on Nepali soil. DGCA of India also placed restrictions but they were removed on September 30th, 2016. The original request was to shut down the phone and not charge it during the flight. Also, the request was to not store the device in check-in luggage.
Many customers or passengers were facing problems due to the prohibition. Some Nepali passengers confirmed this news and said that it was being actively implemented. Many people all over the globe were facing challenges because they need to explain the new green battery icon of the safe models.
Return, Refund, and Reluctance
After Samsung finally called back Galaxy Note 7 on October 11th of 2016, many people gave their phones back. Their carriers offered them new phones from Samsung and from other manufacturers. Some people also took credit to use in the future and even credit to avail in the next upcoming Samsung flagship phone. Some people also moved to Apple and other brands.
However, some people were reluctant to return their phones. People didn’t return their phones thinking there is no issue with their model. However, Samsung was already showing messages on phone for returning and the second batch also came with charging restrictions. It was quite sure that Note 7 was not getting any updates or spare parts as well. Even the OTA updates were for shutting down the device.
Smartphone lovers and enthusiasts actually kept a few phones by blocking updating and as collector’s items. However, those were at personal risk and Samsung would surely not take a guarantee on them. According to many people, the launch and recall were both done in a hurry.
This debacle has obviously tarnished Samsung’s reputation. The news of such smoking and fire spread worldwide very fast. Many people were questioning the quality of Samsung smartphones. On the contrary, there was also a group of people who understood this and said that accidents happen. Actually, we also have to accept that the company is pushing the limits in battery size, design, size, and power.
Refurbished Galaxy Note 7 and Galaxy Note FE (Fan Edition)
According to the news at first, Samsung wasn’t going to refurbish or repair the problematic phones. The company was simply going to dump all of them. Some people also showed concerns about the environmental effects of dumping more than 2.5 million brand new smartphones. However, on 29th March 2017, Samsung relaunched the refurbished Samsung Galaxy Note 7 in selected countries. This was to respect the customer’s demand and to reuse the product.
Samsung had more than a million Note 7 units with them. A couple of hundreds of thousands were used for testing purposes but still, a large volume existed in their storage. The company told that they were going to carefully take care of all those phones but a lot of pressure came from environmentalists and people.
According to Samsung’s own examination which also included other organizations’ reports, the problem was only in both batteries. There were no defects in other parts of the phone. So the company introduced Galaxy Note 7 with a smaller battery to make it safe and free from other battery design-related issues.
In July of 2017, Samsung launched Galaxy Note FE or the Fan Edition. This was the Galaxy Note 7 with a different name and battery. This new model sold in selected countries and came with a smaller 3200 mAh battery. The main differences between the original and FE were that the Samsung Galaxy FE didn’t have the “Samsung” logo on the front and the phone came with a longer support of OS plus security updates.
Future and Battery Safety
We can see how a small design flaw in battery packing shuts down Galaxy Note 7. It was an expensive case but it showcased the importance of battery design and testing. From now on Samsung and other companies will surely put extreme care on the phone’s design, thermals, and especially battery safety. This incident also shows us that the race for a bigger, better, faster, and more powerful phone is fierce and companies should uphold safety at the top.