Samsung recalls 1 million Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones

SAN FRANCISCO — Samsung has officially recalled 1 million of its Galaxy Note 7 phones sold before Sept. 15 because of "serious fire and burn hazards."

The electronics giant made the announcement during a conference call with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission late Thursday.

Samsung says it received 92 reports of batteries in the popular smartphone overheating in the U.S., resulting in 26 instances of burns and 55 of property damage, including fires in cars and a garage, according to the U.S. agency.

Samsung Electronics America said Note 7 replacement units will be available in the U.S. at most retail stores by Sept. 21.

“Our collaboration with the CPSC to fast-track a voluntary recall in the U.S. addresses safety concerns by ensuring we reach Note 7 owners quickly to exchange their devices,” Tim Baxter, president of Samsung Electronics America, said in a statement.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday that travelers can bring Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones that are under recall onto planes only if they turn off the device, disconnect it from any charging equipment, disable all apps that could inadvertently activate the phone like an alarm and keep the device in a carry-on bag rather than in checked baggage.

“Our primary concern is always public safety. Anyone who chooses to travel with a recalled devices must take precautions to ensure its safe handling,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.

When Samsung  announced a voluntary recall in early September of the phone, citing faulty rechargeable lithium batteries, it had sold 2.5 million of the devices at the time.

SLEEK DESIGN

Hector Abruña, director of the Energy Materials Center at Cornell University and an expert on lithium ion batteries, says Samsung is to blame for trying to create what he calls a thinner “club sandwich” — a layer of electrodes stacked in the phone’s battery — to give its devices a sleek design.

“In an effort to minimize weight and volume, Samsung used a separator that was too thin and this gave rise to shorts which made the batteries get very hot and fail catastrophically,” Abruna says.

Late last week, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warned consumers to stop using and charging their Galaxy Note 7s because of the risk of exploding batteries. Before that, the FAA warned to avoid turning on or charging Note 7s in airplanes.

Samsung’s recall is among the largest in tech in several years. A decade ago, Dell recalled more than 4 million of its notebook computers because their batteries overheated, creating a fire risk. Dell offered free replacements.

In 2014, Nest, which is owned by Google, pulled 440,000 of its high-tech smoke detectors when it discovered consumers might be able to unintentionally turn them off. Nest issued a software fix.

To learn more about the recall and see what you can do to exchange your phone, CLICK HERE.
 
Contributing: Bart Jansen

USA TODAY


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