Samsung recalls Galaxy Note 7 phones due to fire hazard while charging

Batteries have been prone to ignite while charging

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Reuters

Samsung Electronics has recalled all Galaxy Note 7 smartphones equipped with batteries it has found to be fire-prone and halted their sales in 10 markets.

Koh Dong-jin, head of the South Korean company’s smartphone business, expressed regret over the recall at a news conference on Friday. The recall will affect markets including South Korea and the United States.

Models in China feature a different battery and are not being recalled by the world’s biggest smartphone vendor.

The recall comes just over two weeks after the launch of Samsung’s latest premium phone, which features an outsized screen and high-resolution camera, and follows reports of the $885 phone igniting while charging.

Koh, who declined to comment on the number of phones needing replacement, said Samsung had sold 2.5 million of the premium devices so far. The manufacturer plans to replace not only phones with faulty batteries sold to consumers, but also retailer inventories and units in transit.

“I can’t comment on exactly how much the cost will be, but it pains my heart that it will be such a big number,” he said.

The scale of the recall is unprecedented for Samsung, which prides itself on its manufacturing prowess. While recalls in the smartphone industry do happen, including for rival Apple, the nature of the problem for the Galaxy Note 7 is a serious blow to Samsung’s reputation, analysts said.

It must act quickly to minimize damage to its smartphone recovery, after a string of product successes had reversed a fall in market share, they added.

The phone first launched in 10 markets in North America, Asia and the Middle East. Further roll-outs have occurred since in markets like China, where sales started just this week. Its wider availability, set for coming weeks, is now on hold.

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