Samsung has permanently ended all production of the literally explosive Note7 after several reports of replacements for the originals were also exploding. It follows rapid developments that included airlines again ordering passengers to turn the phones off and word the company was temporarily ceasing production and shipment of the Note7 on Monday.
The report of a full shutdown comes from the New York Times, which cited an anonymous source who claimed Samsung had told the South Korean stock exchange they had made a “final decision” to cease production of the phone.
This announcement was preceded by one made earlier in the day that they were telling global retailer partners to suspend sales of the devices.
“We are working with relevant regulatory bodies to investigate the recently reported cases involving the Galaxy Note7,” the company said in a statement early Tuesday. “Because consumers’ safety remains our top priority, Samsung will ask all carrier and retail partners globally to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note7 while the investigation is taking place.”
The choice to pull the plug on the Note7 marks a very significant blow to Samsung that could have long term implications on brand perception from the market. Until now, the Korean manufacturer has been able to stand out against cheaper Chinese competitors based in part on qualitative advantages. How the company chooses to handle the resulting recall and negativity will likely play a role in whether they will be able to regain consumer trust for future models.
Dealing with the aftermath
Even before these latest updates from the company, US regulators had already issued their own recall according to the Los Angeles Times. The Verge, has reported that at least five replacement Note 7s have suffered this fate so far.
“We remain committed to working diligently with appropriate regulatory authorities to take all necessary steps to resolve the situation. Consumers with either an original Galaxy Note7 or replacement Galaxy Note7 device should power down and stop using the device and take advantage of the remedies available.”
The decision was taken after replacement phones also began to fail in the same spectacular fashion as the original devices. One cooked off on board a Southwest Airlines flight, forcing an evacuation, and leading to a ban of the Note7 on all Southwest planes. The phone is also now banned on several Australian airlines as well.
Elsewhere, other airlines like the Russian Aeroflot have requested that passengers turn off their Note7s during flights.
Flying out of Incheon airport in Samsung’s home base of South Korea where the company is a source of national pride, Geektime listened to announcements heard overhead in multiple languages, urging travelers to keep their phones off. With jokes of exploding phones aside, concern for flight safety was real, with passengers eyeing their neighbors and being relieved as never before to see someone holding an iPhone.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that a recall is looming. A recall had already been issued prior to this report.
Gabriel Avner contributed to this reporting