UPDATE: It's official, Samsung announced a global recall of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7.
The company's investigation of various reported cases of faulty Galaxy Note 7 has concluded that it is a battery cell issue.
According to the statement, 35 cases have been reported globally. Samsung will voluntarily replace current devices with new ones over the coming weeks and said it was working closely with partners to make the replacement as "convenient and efficient" as possible.
All three Singaporean telcos Singtel, M1 and StarHub have already pulled the phone off their shelves, it's not confirmed as yet if Malaysian telcos will follow suit. Samsung Malaysia however has confirmed that it will follow suit in replacing all Galaxy Note 7 units in the coming weeks.
Customers were advised to call the Samsung Malaysia hotline at 1-800- 88-7799 for further enquiries.
Exploding Note 7s, anyone?
Speaking to Reuters, a Samsung spokesperson said, "Shipments of the Galaxy Note 7 are being delayed due to additional tests being conducted for product quality.”
The first reports of Note 7 issues were software-related. Some users were complaining about the phone crashing, bootlooping or even being plain unusable - the dreaded 'bricking'. Even website Phone Arena's own review unit was also crashing, finally stuck in a bootloop as the writers haplessly tried to restore it to working condition.
A lot of bricked units when the phone is just barely out the gate is, to be truthful, fairly worrying. It is slightly reminiscent of the Bendgate saga with Apple's iPhone 6 but users are now calling this latest state of affairs Brickgate.
To add to the software woes, there have been unconfirmed reports of the Galaxy Note 7's battery exploding during charging. Samsung has not as yet directly addressed any reports of malfunctions. Some surmise it might have something to do with the Type-C connector: Samsung's first on a phone. The connector has been shown to have issues with non-compliant third-party cables, which could lead to damage to phones, laptops and other devices dependent on the connector. Thus the moral of the story: stick to original cables.
Hopefully the quality issues will be resolved pretty soon as the demand for the phone has been pretty phenomenal, to the point the company is struggling to keep up with the huge volume of preorders all over the world. For those still waiting for their Samsung Galaxy Note 7s to arrive, maybe the best things do come to those who wait.
UPDATE: There's rumours Samsung is contemplating calling for a product recall, but it is unclear whether that would apply to all markets or a particular shipment. The culprit seems to be the battery pack, which Samsung will replace free of charge.
Why the battery pack? It seems that while Samsung makes the battery cells, it outsources the battery pack to third-party suppliers. Recently there have also been reports of phones using battery packs made by one Korean supplier, ITM Semiconductor, also exploding.
While Samsung has told Reuters that it had received no information to suggest the Galaxy Note 7's batteries themselves were faulty, it did cause enough jitters to bring down Samsung SDI's share value down by almost seven per cent.
It's bad timing for Samsung, but good timing for Apple, whose latest iPhones are set to be launched by 7 Sept. Will this entice people set on the Note 7 to go for an iPhone Plus model instead? Stay tuned for more smartphone drama.