Should Samsung Call Time On The Galaxy Note 7?
Ordinarily the failure of three or four smartphone batteries wouldn't be a particularly interesting news story, however when those three or four smartphones are Galaxy Note 7 handsets and, furthermore, are Galaxy Note 7 handsets which have the new, safe battery; there's more than a little to pique the interest.
Let's wind back a little first though. Of the original reports of Galaxy Note 7 fires a large number were found to be mistaken, either honestly or maliciously, so until its confirmed otherwise I'd take the reports of 'safe' Note 7 fires with a large pinch of salt.
Unsurprisingly, any smartphone fire is going to be called a Note 7 fire and any Note 7 fire is going to be a failure of a replaced handset. News sites are here to sell news and the Note 7 is a big ticket item for them right now.
Samsung's best option for getting this stain off their reputation is to recall all of the Note 7 devices and give customers refunds. That might not be the option Samsung takes though. Every Note 7 owner I've spoken to so far has expressed a desire to have a replacement Note 7. It's a remarkably good handset and that's clearly impressed itself upon those who bought the phone in the first place.
Samsung's investigation into the alleged fires involving fixed phones is going to be crucial here. If there's any truth in the story its going to be hard to avoid the conclusion that all the Note 7s need to come home.
However if the stories prove to be incorrect - and my gut feeling is that this seems the more likely outcome - Samsung needs to spend serious marketing dollars telling customers that this is the case, because the media won't be interested in that part of the story.
It also needs to go big on persuading the airlines that the new Note 7 is safe for customers to use in flight, because the message that 'all Samsung phones need to be turned off' is destroying the brand. It isn't even the wrong message for the airlines to be sending. After all you can't really expect a stewardess to know the difference between a Note 7 and an S7, nor delay flights by taking the time to check individual handsets are safe.