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Samsung recalls all Galaxy Note 7’s due to exploding batteries

Samsung has announced that it will recall all Galaxy Note 7 devices after multiple reports of battery explosions while the device was charging. This news comes after the company had reportedly delayed shipments to investigate the issue — obviously the Korean manufacturer found reason to be concerned about the product.

Lithium-ion battery chemistry is tricky stuff. Companies are extremely secretive about their chemistries and manufacturing components, looking for any method of gaining an advantage over their competitors. Samsung is recalling nearly all the devices, apparently, because it hasn’t been able to isolate the flaw to a single product or manufacturing flaw in a particular battery manufacturer’s process. While the number of affected devices is reportedly small, at just 24 per 100,000, thermal runaway in lithium-ion devices can ignite fires or leave third-degree burns on humans if the device is in a pocket when it ignites.

Various US carriers have already responded to news of the problem with their own recalls and programs. AT&T states that it is still in the process of defining its exchange / return program and will have more information for customers soon. T-Mobile notes that customers who have purchased a Samsung Note 7 are eligible for full refunds on the device and all Note 7 accessories. Customers may keep the Netflix subscriptions they received with the order and all restocking and shipping fees are waived. Sprint states it will offer customers a “similar device” until the situation is resolved but does not mention explicit refunds (like AT&T, it promises to share more details in the near future). Verizon notes it will waive the restocking fee for any customer that wishes to return or exchange the Galaxy Note 7.

Samsung is going to take a heavy hit for the recall, according to Reuters. Koh Dong-jin, head of the Samsung’s manufacturing business, told Reuters the recall would be worldwide and affect already-sold units, units in transit, and units still on store shelves. China is the sole exception — these devices apparently use different batteries and are not affected by the same problem. Koh wouldn’t confirm how many devices Samsung was recalling but noted that the company had already sold 2.5 million Note 7’s worldwide. “I can’t comment on exactly how much the cost will be, but it pains my heart that it will be such a big number,” he said.

The recall will have a significant impact on Samsung’s financials for the quarter but the company hopes long-term Note 7 sales will be unaffected. If you have a Note 7 we strongly recommend replacing it, even if you haven’t previously had problems — battery fires are nothing to take chances with.

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