Samsung could face an unusual second recall of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones if one that caught fire aboard an airliner this week is a replacement device as its owner says, two former US safety officials said.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission are investigating Wednesday’s incident, when a passenger’s phone emitted smoke on a Southwest Airlines Co. plane readying for departure from Louisville, Kentucky. A flight attendant doused it with a fire extinguisher, and the plane was evacuated without injury.
“If it’s the fixed phone and it started to smoke in his pocket, I’m going to guess there’ll be another recall,” said Pamela Gilbert, a former executive director of the consumer agency. “That just doesn’t sound right.”
Samsung has been engulfed in crisis since the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones began to burst into flames just days after hitting the market in August. The Suwon, South Korea-based company announced last month that it would replace all 2.5 million phones sold globally at that point. Samsung said it had uncovered the cause of the battery fires and that it was certain new phones wouldn’t have the same flaws.
The first indications of the existing recall’s financial impact could be seen Friday with the company’s release of earnings that rose at the slowest pace in five quarters. Operating income increased just 5.5 percent to KRW 7.8 trillion ($7 billion or roughly Rs. 46,812 crores) in the three months ended September 30.
The US safety commission could decide as early as next week on what steps to take, said Gilbert, a partner in Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP in Washington. “This is not something you want to leave hanging out there,” she said.
Nancy Nord, a former acting chairwoman of the safety commission, said a second recall doesn’t happen very often.
“Certainly they could do another recall, if it appears this is something beyond an aberration,” she said.
“They need to determine if this was a remediated phone, and if so why did this happen?” said Nord, who is of counsel at Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC in Washington.
CPSC spokesman Scott Wolfson declined to comment on what action may be taken.
Bloomberg News last week interviewed a customer in China who said his new Galaxy Note 7 had exploded less than 24 hours after it was delivered. The company said it was investigating the incident.
The owner of the phone involved in Wednesday’s incident told investigators it was a replacement Galaxy Note 7, said Captain Kevin Fletcher of the Louisville Metro Arson Squad.
“Due to the damage to the phone itself, we have not been able to physically confirm that yet,” Fletcher said during an interview. “We’re in the process of trying to attempt that.”
Samsung and US officials announced the recall after 92 reports of batteries overheating in the US, with 26 cases involving burns.
Samsung, FAA and Consumer Product Safety Commission representatives were in Louisville and working with arson investigators, Fletcher said. The phone remains in the possession of the arson squad, which is trying to schedule laboratory tests on the phone. It hasn’t been determined where or when those tests will occur, Fletcher said.
There was “extensive heat damage” to the phone and the plane’s carpet, he said.
Brian Green, the phone’s owner, told WAVE television news in Louisville that he got a replacement phone at a retail store after receiving an e-mail about the recall. “It was a good phone, by all indications, from all the information Samsung provided,” Green said. “But it just had its issues.”
On the plane, he turned the phone off and put it in his pocket. The device made a popping sound and sent “smoke just billowing out of my clothes,” Green said. He dropped it to avoid getting hurt.
Samsung said in a statement Wednesday that it couldn’t confirm that the incident involved the new phone but would have more information after examining the device. The company didn’t offer an update Thursday and a spokeswoman had no immediate reply to a request for comment on the possibility of another recall.
The CPSC and Samsung have a range of options, from a broad new recall if systemic flaws are discovered in the replacement devices to no action if they don’t find any broader safety issues.
While the safety agency has legal authority to order recalls, that requires court action and could take months. Instead, it almost always operates in collaboration with companies, as it did with Samsung.
Samsung had raced to complete the introduction of the Galaxy Note 7 before Apple could unveil its new iPhone 7. The Galaxy Note 7 features a larger battery that can store more power than its predecessor.
A battery supplier made the power packs slightly too large for the phone’s compartment, the consumer safety commission said when announcing the recall September 15. As a result, the battery components were sometimes pinched, which could cause a short circuit, according to the agency.
Rechargeable lithium-ion cells like those in the Samsung phones are made with highly flammable chemicals. When they fail, they can generate intense heat or sparks that can ignite those chemicals.
The United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization earlier this year banned bulk shipments of lithium-ion cells from passenger flights after tests showed that they could violently explode even after being doused with fire extinguishers.
A replacement model of the fire-prone Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone began smoking inside a US plane on Wednesday, the family that owns it said, prompting fresh investigations by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Federal Aviation Administration.
A problem with the replacement for the Galaxy Note 7 model would create a new, embarrassing and potentially costly chapter to a global scandal which has hurt Samsung’s reputation. It also could add new dangers for consumers.
Indiana passenger Brian Green’s phone began emitting smoke inside a Southwest Airlines Co flight to Baltimore from Louisville, Kentucky, his wife Sarah told Reuters after speaking with her husband. She said that Green had replaced the original phone about two weeks ago after getting a text message from Samsung.
Samsung said in a statement it was working to recover the device and to understand the cause. “Until we are able to retrieve the device, we cannot confirm that this incident involves the new Galaxy Note 7,” the South Korean company said.
The world’s largest smartphone maker announced a global recall of at least 2.5 million of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in 10 markets last month due to faulty batteries causing some phones to catch fire.
The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is in touch with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Samsung and the phone’s owner to gather facts, Chairman Elliot Kaye said in a statement, reminding consumers that they could get refunds for the troubled model.
The FAA said in a statement that it had confirmed a Samsung phone caused the smoke on the Southwest flight and that it was investigating the incident.
Technology news site The Verge, which earlier reported the incident, quoted Brian Green as saying the phone was a replacement, and it posted a picture taken by him of the packaging. The picture showed an identifying label with a black box, which Samsung has described as the indicator of a replacement phone. A spokeswoman declined to comment on the picture.
Samsung customers in China have reported problems with phones that have the same battery as the global replacement model, but Samsung has said it examined the Chinese phones and found the batteries were not at fault.
Green picked up the new phone at an AT&T Inc store on Sept. 21, the Verge said.
Southwest said the plane was evacuated after a customer reported smoke from a Samsung device. All passengers and crew exited the plane and no injuries were reported, a Southwest Airlines spokesperson said.
While Samsung is busy putting out fires (literally) on the Galaxy Note 7 recall, other smartphone makers are getting the most out of Samsung’s misery. The latest to take a dig at the South Korean giant is LG. The company’s customer care department seems to be randomly sending messages to users ahead of the Diwali festival with a friendly, yet mocking message.
The message – “Heard the news of exploding products? At LG, our products go through multiple tests to ensure safety of our most valuable asset – YOU. Have a safe Diwali with LG.” – is a clear jab at the recent news of exploding Galaxy Note 7 devices from Samsung.
Samsung officially announced a recall of its Galaxy Note 7 on September 2. Reports of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones catching fire has resulted in an unprecedented recall, costing the company billions of dollars. Samsung has been slowly replacing affected Galaxy Note 7 devices and said on Thursday more than 1 million people globally are now using Galaxy Note 7 smartphones with batteries that are not vulnerable to overheating and catching fire.
In September, Lenovo-owned Motorola also took a jab at Samsung when it offered free Incipio offGRID Power Pack with every Moto Z Droid purchase with a quote that read “At Moto, our priority is safety first. Unlike some manufacturers, we adhere to the highest standards in quality and testing of all our batteries.”
The LG V20 is ready to go on sale this month and it looks like the company is hoping Samsung’s recent tragedy will attract customers over to its side. LG India’s Managing Director, Kim Ki-Wan, confirmed to Gadgets 360 that the company plans to bring the LG V20 smartphone to India soon, perhaps just in time for the Diwali festival.
The successor of the Xiaomi Mi Note has been rumoured for quite a while now, and now a fresh teaser leak confirms that the official unveil may not be too far. The teaser shows an outline of the Mi Note 2, and confirms previous rumours of a dual camera setup at the back.
This latest teaser poster surfaces again on Weibo (via PlayfulDroid), and shows a black colour variant of what is purportedly the Xiaomi Mi Note 2. The leak reaffirms that the smartphone will sport the dual camera setup at the back, but apart from that, it offers no other clarity. The Mi Note 2 has been rumoured for several months, and was even recently expected to launch on September 14, but that didn’t happen either.
Just last week, Xiaomi also took the wraps off the Mi 5s and Mi 5s Plus smartphones in China. They both sport a metal build, and the larger Mi 5s Plus sports a dual camera setup at the back as well. The two smartphones are also powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 821 SoC.
With respect to the Mi Note 2, there’s little left to the imagination, as most of its specification details have been tipped online. The smartphone is expected to sport a dual-edge screen just like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, and a dual camera setup just like the iPhone 7 Plus. It is tipped to come in an all-metal body, and pack a 5.5-inch Oled screen.
The Mi Note 2 is expected to come in 6GB RAM/ 64GB storage and 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage bundles and be priced at CNY 2,499 (roughly Rs. 25,000) and CNY 2,799 (roughly Rs. 28,000) respectively. The smartphone is said to be powered by a Snapdragon 821 SoC, and pack a 3600mAh battery. It’s anticipated to sport two speaker grilles at the bottom, and have a fingerprint sensor at the front.
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV has slammed South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics Co for what it said was “discrimination” against China consumers in its handling of a global recall of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones to replace batteries.
In a commentary piece posted on its website on Thursday evening, CCTV said Samsung’s behaviour in China after the September 2 recall of 2.5 million phones was “full of arrogance”.
CCTV said a video apology Samsung issued to US consumers, along with various replacement options and compensation, was in stark contrast to its treatment of those in China, where the company issued a brief statement saying most phones didn’t need to be replaced. “Samsung’s discriminatory policy has caused discontent from Chinese consumers,” it said.
Samsung China didn’t immediately responded to requests for comment on the CCTV criticism.
The CCTV criticism may provide an unwelcome distraction for Samsung as seeks to bolster its position in the world’s largest smartphone market. Once the number 1 mobile phone vendor in China, Samsung dropped out of top 5 in 2015, hit by the strong growth of domestic brands like Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo.
A number of big-name global consumer brands have fallen foul of the influential broadcaster’s blasts in recent years, prompting firms from German automaker Volkswagen AG to Samsung rival Apple to undertake strenuous efforts to bolster their image.
Earlier in September, after a meeting with China’s quality safety watchdog, Samsung China issued a brief statement saying 1,858 Galaxy Note 7 devices sold in the country as part of a test scheme before the official launch would be recalled.
Most Galaxy Note 7s on sale in China have batteries from a different supplier and are not part of its global recall of 2.5 million phones announced on September 2, Samsung said.
But after anecdotal reports of a handful of Note 7s catching fire in the mainland, Samsung China issued a statement on Thursday apologising to Chinese consumers for a “lack of sufficient explanation” on what it said were safe Note 7 phones in China.
Samsung Electronics Co said on Tuesday it has got back around 60 percent of recalled Galaxy Note 7 smartphones sold in South Korea, the United States and Europe, suggesting it is making progress in its attempts to recover from the crisis.
In a statement, Samsung said it was focused on replacing all affected devices “as quickly and efficiently” as possible and reiterated its request that customers affected by the current recall should power off their device and turn them in.
The world’s top smartphone maker announced on September 2 a global recall of at least 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in 10 markets due to faulty batteries causing some phones to catch fire. The company says replacement devices it began issuing in mid-September use safe batteries.
Samsung hopes to take the faulty products off the market as soon as possible in order to limit further damage to its reputation and resume sales of the flagship device ahead of the key holiday shopping season in major markets such as the United States.
But the nearly month-long recall process has provided additional stumbles and embarrassment for the firm. Reports of Galaxy Note 7 fires and damages have continued after the recall announcement, while aviation authorities around the world issued warnings or outright bans on the use or charging of the Note 7 on aircraft.
Samsung was also forced to push back the start of Galaxy Note 7 sales in South Korea by three days to October 1 due to relatively slow progress in the recall in its home market.
Samsung Europe said the rapid response to the company’s exchange offer, which only started early last week in the region, gave the company confidence it can move to re-start sales of new models in key European markets by October 28.
As of Monday, 57 percent of Galaxy Note 7 owners had swapped for new devices, Samsung Europe said. Galaxy Note 7s were available for pre-order only days before the recall, limiting the number sold in the region, it said. Most of the devices to be recalled in the region were in Britain, France and Germany.
Some analysts say the cost of the recall and lost sales could wipe off nearly $5 billion in revenues for Samsung this year. Samsung said around 90 percent of customers who turned in their devices through the exchange programme have opted for a replacement Galaxy Note 7, but it remains unclear how strong demand from new customers would be when sales resume.
Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 3 has achieved yet another milestone as the company claims that the smartphone has become the bestselling online phone in India. According to a tweet by the company, 2.3 million units of the smartphone have been sold to date. To recall, the Redmi Note 3 was launched back in March in India.
The Chinese company claims that a unit of Redmi Note 3 is sold every 7 seconds in India and that one out of every nine smartphones shipped online is a Redmi Note 3.
In order to celebrate this feat by the smartphone, the company is organising a contest that allows users to win Redmi Note 3 or coupons by playing a game. In the game, the players are asked to type the sentence given by the company in less than seven seconds. Users will get three chances per day till Thursday.
If you fail to type in first three attempts, you can get more chances by sharing the company’s post on Facebook. Users are allowed to take advantage of this chance twice a day. Any user can have up to 9 chances a day.
Last month, the company announced that it had shipped 1.75 million units of the Redmi Note 3 in just five months of its launch. The company further pointed to an IDC report that said it had shipped 880,000 units of the smartphone in the online channel in Q2 2016.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 packs a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display. The smartphone is powered by 1.4GHz hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 processor coupled with 2GB of RAM.
Senior executives of Samsung today met officials of aviation regulator DGCA, two days after one of the company’s high-end smartphones caught fire inside an IndiGo aircraft.
During the meeting, which lasted for more than an hour, the watchdog sought technical details about Galaxy Note series amid concerns over batteries of some of the devices getting overheated and exploding, sources said.
On September 23, a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 caught fire inside an IndiGo aircraft coming from Singapore during landing at the Chennai airport.
Following the incident, which was the first of its kind involving a Samsung Galaxy Note on board an aircraft in India, DGCA had summoned the company’s officials for a meeting.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will further examine the smartphone that caught fire, the sources said.
The incident happened within a fortnight of the regulator prohibiting the use of Galaxy Note 7 on board following a series of cases of the smartphone’s battery exploding in various countries.
This model is yet to be launched in the Indian market.
According to sources, Samsung executives told DGCA that Galaxy Note 7 manufactured till September 15 will not be sold in India in order to address battery issues.
About today’s meeting, DGCA spokesperson was not available for comment while Samsung did not offer any immediate comment.
Soon after the incident of Galaxy Note 2 catching fire was reported on September 23, Samsung had said it was looking into the matter and was in touch with relevant authorities to gather more information.
Security research company last week announced it had discovered a flaw in Apple’s local password protected iTunes backups in iOS 10 that reportedly weakened password security. Apple has now acknowledged the flaw and has confirmed that it is working on a fix.
An Apple spokesperson in a statement to Forbes said, “We’re aware of an issue that affects the encryption strength for backups of devices on iOS 10 when backing up to iTunes on the Mac or PC. We are addressing this issue in an upcoming security update.” The Cupertino-based giant again stressed that the flaw “does not affect iCloud backups.” In the meanwhile, Apple has recommended users to “ensure strong passwords on their Mac or PC.”
“We recommend users ensure their Mac or PC are protected with strong passwords and can only be accessed by authorized users. Additional security is also available with FileVault whole disk encryption,” added the spokesperson. Unfortunately, the company has not revealed an exact timeline for the update.
The security research firm ElcomSoft claimed that the security flaw can let attackers develop a new attack that can bypass certain security checks when tallying passwords protecting local backups in iOS 10 devices. “The impact of this security weakness is severe,” claimed the firm. It also said that the new security check in iOS 10 was roughly “2,500 times weaker” compared to the one used in iOS 9 backups.
It’s worth mentioning that the flaw discovered cannot be exploited remotely and needed the attacker to have access of the local backups in iOS 10.
Samsung says new Galaxy Note 7 smartphones will be available in US stores starting Wednesday to replace about 1 million devices that are being recalled because their batteries can catch fire.
The South Korean company has been scrambling to fix problems caused by faulty batteries in the latest version of its top-of-the-line smartphone, which first went on sale last month.
When it first offered on September 2 to replace the affected Note 7 phones, Samsung said it would swap them for models of its other phones, such as the Galaxy S7, until supplies of replacement Note 7 devices became available.
Samsung followed up last week by announcing that US consumers who had purchased one of the recalled phones could choose between a replacement or a refund for the device, which sells for about $850. That offer was jointly announced with officials at the US Consumer Product Safety Commission after Samsung was criticized for not coordinating more closely with the commission.
Safety officials have urged Note 7 owners to turn off their phones and return them immediately. They cited reports of Note 7 batteries overheating in the United States, including 26 instances where individuals were burned and 55 that caused property damage.
The problem doesn’t affect all Note 7 phones, because Samsung uses batteries from different suppliers. But the company has said about 2.5 million devices may be affected worldwide, including 1 million sold in the United States.
Samsung also said it’s pushing out two software updates through wireless carriers. One will show a green battery icon to confirm that a Note 7 device is a new one that doesn’t have the battery problem. The other will display a short notice to owners of older phones covered by the recall, telling them to turn off their device and take it in for a replacement.
About a quarter of affected phones had been exchanged in the United States by Tuesday, according to a spokeswoman for Samsung’s US subsidiary. She was unable to say how many Note 7 buyers sought refunds, but said “the vast majority” received a different Samsung phone as a replacement.