There are now five reports of fires involving Galaxy Note 7 handsets that had been replaced and were claimed to be safe by the manufacturer, which is a disturbing number (with the proviso that we don’t know for sure if any of these handsets are actually replacement devices).
Rather more interesting is a text alleged sent by mistake to one of the owners of a burnt Note 7, which suggests that Samsung is either not taking the issues seriously or believes the customer in question is trying to shake them down.
The text reads: “Just now got this. I can try and slow him down if we think it will matter, or we just let him do what he keeps threatening to do and see if he does it”
So, what was the customer in question threatening to do? Why would Samsung seek to slow him down and what does that say about the handset. It’s claimed that Samsung has X-rayed the Note 7 in question but not taken possession of it.
What is clear is that if you want to cause your smartphone to go up in flames it is relatively easy to do given the unstable nature of Lithium Ion batteries. Could this handset show signs of deliberately being damaged? Puncture or impact damage? It seems to me the only reason for Samsung’s response.
In any case I suspect that the Note 7 is done. Reputationally it can never recover now. Getting handsets back and refunding customers seems like the only option available to Samsung now, even if the replacement handsets aren’t faulty.