When it was released last fall, Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 was the hottest Android phone the world had ever seen. Unfortunately though, the Galaxy Note 7 was literally the hottest Android phone the world had ever seen. A poor battery design caused dozens of phones to explode while being charged — and in some cases, while unplugged and in use — causing property damage and even injuring some users in the process. As a result, Samsung was forced to issue an unprecedented global recall, asking everyone around the world who purchased the phone to return or exchange it as soon as possible.
An employee checks an exchanged Samsung Galaxy Note 7 at company’s headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, October 13. Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters
Most of the potentially destructive smartphones have been collected by now. Since the phone was so impressive, however, a small percentage of holdouts have refused to give up their precious Note 7 handsets. We’re not sure why Samsung waited as long as it did, but the company is finally taking its final step in ensuring that the Note 7 cannot do anymore damage.
According to South Korean news site Yonhap News, Samsung will take steps next week to completely disable any remaining Galaxy Note 7 smartphones that may still be in use. The company said some time ago that 97% of all Note 7 phones have been reclaimed by the company. With more than 1 million handsets sold before Samsung discontinued the phone, however, that leaves tens of thousands of Note 7 handsets still in users’ hands.
According to the report, Samsung plans to issue a mandatory software update that will completely prevent any remaining Galaxy Note 7 devices from holding a charge. As a result, the phones will no longer be able to power on unless they are plugged in. Samsung and its carrier partners issued a similar software update in the US late last year and in early 2017, and now any remaining markets where the Note 7 might still be in use will get the update.
Diehard Samsung fans who were holding onto their Note 7 phones won’t have to wait very long before their soon-to-be crippled Note 7 phones are replaced. Samsung will unveil its new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ flagship phones on Wednesday, and they’ll be released about a month later.