Samsung gelds Note 7 battery capacity to limit fire risk

If you've recently spent any time online, you've almost certainly heard about all the fireworks surrounding Samsung's Galaxy Note 7 handsets and the company's related product recall. At least for its South Korean customers, Samsung has stoked its forge and crafted a software fix to limit the battery capacity of existing Note 7s to 60%. That move might reduce the likelihood of the phones spontaneously combusting, but it seems more likely to annoy stubborn users into exchanging their devices for new phones without the fire risk.

According to the Associated Press, the fix was advertised in a South Korean newspaper and will be rolled out on September 20. There's currently no word on whether or when that patch will be deployed in other territories, but given the inflammatory nature of the situation, we guess it may not be long.

Here's the whole backstory, in case you're not up to speed. An estimated 2.5 million Note 7s came out of the factory with a battery defect that can cause them to short internally and burn while charging. Samsung has since then fired up a product recall and recommended that customers stop using their devices, but apparently not every buyer got the memo—assuming they're not too stubborn to bother with the exchange in the first place. Reports are coming in about multiple smoky incidents involving the device, and the FAA even went as far as to advise travelers against using their devices on aircraft. The AP says Samsung has received reports of over 70 incidents in the U.S. alone.

Owners of the Galaxy Note 7 can exchange their phones for a loaner at "select retail and carrier outlets" until stock of Note 7s without the problem comes in. Samsung has said users would begin recieving new devices this week, but that deadline has blown past already, likely leaving many people fuming. For what it's worth, the AP says that Samsung expects to start shipping replacements on September 19 in South Korea. US customers can also exchange a Note 7 for a Galaxy S7 or S7 edge today if they'd rather not wait. The company is working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to produce a "voluntary corrective action plan" that might streamline the exchange process, as well.

Comments closed
    • strangerguy
    • 4 years ago

    Seems like this lack of QC is a result of Samsung rushing the Note 7 release before the iPhone 7 does.

    • trackerben
    • 4 years ago

    Samsung’s unlucky 7. Noted.

    • ronch
    • 4 years ago

    Do these things happen with cheap off brands like ZTE or phones that cost $50?

      • derFunkenstein
      • 4 years ago

      No, but there’s no pressure to jam as much (or more) battery than possible into cheap phones. Crappy battery life is just par for the course. Also they tend to use mature (read: amortized) tech. Bigger gambles go with bigger price tags naturally.

        • just brew it!
        • 4 years ago

        Indeed. There’s a reason the latest tech is referred to as “bleeding edge”. 😉

        • rechicero
        • 4 years ago

        I have a sub 200 phone with a 4K battery (Redmi 3 Pro). As of today, didnt explode. But I dont charge it so much, once a week or every 5 days if I really use it a lot with whatsapp voice calls everyday and things like that. I’d say is cheap enough and the battery is big enough.

    • albundy
    • 4 years ago

    yikes! what a piece of $hit for an ultra premium phone.

      • juzz86
      • 4 years ago

      I’m sure you were downvoted for tone, but you’re correct – it’s not good press.

      Call me an ass, but I’m happy to see Sammy take a flogging over this one. The washing machines were the wrong department to get much airtime, maybe now there’s a dodgy phone it will cause them to come under a bit more scrutiny and take a bit more care.

      Don’t get me wrong, they do make good stuff and we have plenty of it in the house. But they branched out into a lot of areas very quickly, and things like this are bound to crop up eventually. It’d be nice if there was a lesson learned, is all – and the phone will at least hit the Internet, who’ll whinge at anything.

    • just brew it!
    • 4 years ago

    This also has the makings of a double train wreck. Crippling the battery will result in people clamoring for the replacement phones. It is not inconceivable that in the rush to get the replacements out there will be another lapse in battery QA as the production capacity of the battery factories are pushed to their limits.

      • brucethemoose
      • 4 years ago

      Something might slip through QA, but after this loss, you can bet that Samsung’s gonna make sure it’s not a battery issue.

        • just brew it!
        • 4 years ago

        The problem is, they won’t know if there’s an issue with the replacements until a bunch of them are already out in the field. They’ve had… what… a few dozen exploding phones so far out of a couple million shipped? This isn’t something your QA department can easily test for ahead of time.

    • just brew it!
    • 4 years ago

    Edit (again): Never mind, nothing to see here. Double-post glitch, a case of user error.

    • just brew it!
    • 4 years ago

    “I’m sorry sir, I’m only allowed to fill your beer 2/3 of the way. We’ve had a few incidents recently where customers exploded when we gave them a full one.”

    • Wirko
    • 4 years ago

    I like the calorific value of this article.

      • morphine
      • 4 years ago

      I can assure you that the Note 7 matter is not a healthy one.

    • brucethemoose
    • 4 years ago

    I flew yesterday, and the crew made announcements about the Galaxy Note 7 on the plane more than once.

      • Redundant
      • 4 years ago

      It’s a good bad thing. It gives validation to a specific group of iPhone users.

    • chuckula
    • 4 years ago

    The College Board would like to thank you for using geld as a verb.
    Retroactive +100 on your SAT verbal score.

      • morphine
      • 4 years ago

      I’d love to take credit for that, but the headline tweak was Jeff’s.

      • cynan
      • 4 years ago

      Personally, I prefer not to go out of my way to use metaphorical language when the subject is the surgical removal of male genitalia. But by all means, to each their own.

      Other possibly less disturbing options: Cripple, suppress, restrict, impede, retard

      Or more poetic options: hamper, fetter, shackle, manacle, bridle

      If the point was to generate clicks, then having “retard(s)” immediately following Samsung would have probably done the trick.

      And if the metaphor was selected for affinity of the theme of equine domination, then “bridles” would have suited.

        • just brew it!
        • 4 years ago

        How about “decapitate”?

        Or if we’re sticking with the existing theme, “castrate” would’ve been more impactful, since more people know what it means without looking it up.

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