20 September 2016
Samsung to Cripple Recalled Galaxy Note7 Smartphones, Preventing Their Batteries from Charging
by Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson, News Corp Australia Network, 20 September 2016
SAMSUNG will tomorrow force software to install on recalled Galaxy Note7 smartphones in Australia, crippling the handsets and preventing their batteries from fully recharging.
The South Korean tech giant issued a warning about the unprecedented “mandatory” update today, revealing the software would “automatically download and install” itself on old Note7 smartphones and would stop its battery from charging more than 60 per cent.
Australians still using the smartphones, recalled due to faulty batteries and a risk of fire, will receive a warning message about the update, and will then be told “for safety concerns related to the battery, the maximum charge will be limited to 60 per cent from now on”.
The world’s biggest smartphone maker recalled its flagship phone worldwide on September 9, asking customers to return the Note7 to stores or telcos for a full refund, replacement or repair.
At the time of the unprecedented recall, the company had verified 35 reports of the Note7 catching fire while charging, though more fires have since emerged, including one that burnt down a Jeep four-wheel drive in the US.
Samsung Electronics Australia mobile vice-president Richard Fink said the forced software update was designed to limit the risk to Note7 users.
“We are working to identify and execute all appropriate measures to protect customer safety,” he said.
“We continue to urge customers who still have an affected Galaxy Note7 to complete a data
backup and factory reset before powering down the device and returning it to their place of
purchase to seek a replacement Galaxy Note7 or alternate remedy of their choice.”
The software update will appear on Galaxy Note7 handsets from tomorrow, with timing dependent on telephone carriers.
Australian Note7 users who are overseas will see the software update only when they connect the handset to a wi-fi hotspot.
The company also revealed replacement Galaxy Note7 smartphones would receive a different software update to turn its battery icon green to indicate it was a safe model.
The new handsets were due to begin shipping to Australian customers tomorrow.
The Samsung phone recall is the company’s second major recall in Australia, after it recalled six top-loading washing machines made between February 2010 and February 2013 following a series of fires.