Samsung would REALLY like those Galaxy Note 7s back, please


Samsung put the Galaxy Note 7 out of its misery just over two weeks ago, after the fixed replacement batch of phablets seemed to list “catching on fire” among their hobbies just as frequently as the first ones.

You’d have thought a propensity to catch fire would be enough to trigger returns of a product, especially when the company is offering exchange for any other phone or a full refund. But the company says that only two-thirds of Note 7s have been returned, leaving a huge number out in the wild. While the vast majority of the flammable phablets were sold in America and Samsung’s home country of South Korea, the BBC estimates that around 50,000 devices made it to Europe.

Any of those 50,000 people still clinging on to their dangerous device will now be subject to new safety limitations. Samsung has announced a patch for the device limiting its battery capacity to 60%, which will begin rolling out across the continent on 31 October.

It’s not often software companies release patches actively designed to make their products worse, but Samsung makes no secret of the reasoning behind this one. “The update is the latest measure taken by the company to reduce customer risk and simultaneously drive all remaining Galaxy Note 7 customers in Europe to replace their device immediately,” the company said.

This actually isn’t the first time Samsung has issued this patch. Back in September, when the problem was first emerging, the company issued a similar battery-limiting patch, and apparently it was reasonably effective. “The software update was found to effectively minimise customer risk, with no incidents reported among the devices that received this software update,” the company said. Although given there were only “35 reported claims” from a batch of 2.5 million at the time of the first recall, forgive me for not finding that hugely reassuring.

Conor Pierce, vice president of IT and mobile at Samsung Electronics UK & Ireland, reiterated that this isn’t designed as a fix for the problem, but to encourage owners to do the right thing and send their handsets back home. “This new battery software update is specifically designed to remind all Galaxy Note 7 customers to replace their device at their earliest possible convenience through their local Galaxy Note7 Replacement Programme,” he said.

“We once again would like to apologise for not meeting the standard of product excellence that our customers have come to expect from Samsung and we sincerely thank them for their continued understanding and co-operation.”

A quick search of eBay found a Note 7 going for £640 with a day to go right here in the UK, so clearly not everyone is showing said “understanding and co-operation”.

Come on Note 7 refuseniks, you really should send them back now. The S7 is almost as good, and they’ll even let you take it on flights. If you want to honour your old handset, you could always buy an iPhone 7 with this handsome “exploded Note 7” skin?

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