Culture

Report: Samsung Halts Production of Note 7 After Replacement Battery Problems

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTSRJ37

Well, that appears to be that.

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) has suspended production of its flagship Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, a source said on Monday, after reports of fires in replacement devices added to the tech giant’s worst ever recall crisis.

Top U.S. and Australian carriers also suspended sales or exchanges of Note 7s, while major airlines reiterated bans on passengers using the phones, after smoke from a replacement device forced the evacuation of a passenger plane in the United States last week.

Fires in phones that were meant to replace devices that had been recalled because of their propensity to explode would be a disaster for the world’s largest smartphone maker, suggesting it had failed to fix a problem that has already hurt its brand and threatens to derail a recovery in its mobile business.

“If the Note 7 is allowed to continue it could lead to the single greatest act of brand self-destruction in the history of modern technology,” said Eric Schiffer, brand strategy expert and chairman of Reputation Management Consultants.

“Samsung needs to take a giant write-down and cast the Note 7 to the engineering hall of shame next to the Ford Pinto.”

The Mother of All PR Disasters should be coming to an end soon. Some tech writers started saying last week that just nixing the entire project would probably be Samsung’s best option. Samsung should be able to get through this, as all of its smartphone fortunes aren’t tied up in this one model. Still, this one is going to leave a mark.

Blame me if you want. In the brief history of smartphones, the Note 7 is the only one I ever set my sights on before it was released. I really wanted that phone. As my Note 4 began showing signs of age during the Olympics when all of those Note 7 commercials were running, it was as if the universe was telling me I really needed that phone.

Then…KABOOM.

Now I’m wandering in the smartphone desert, wondering what to do for an alternative. Thanks to capitalism, it won’t be difficult for me to find one.