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Tuesday, October 11, 2016, 21:01

Samsung scraps Galaxy Note 7 over fire concerns

By Agencies

Samsung scraps Galaxy Note 7 over fire concerns

SAN FRANCISCO - Samsung Electronics said Tuesday that it is discontinuing production of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones permanently, a day after stopping global sales of the ill-fated devices.

The South Korean company said in a regulatory filing that it decided to stop manufacturing Note 7s for the sake of consumer safety.

Samsung said consumers with original Note 7 devices or replacements obtained after the recall should turn off power and seek a refund or exchange

Samsung is struggling to regain consumer trust after a first round of recalls that prompted criticism both for the faulty devices and for the company's handling of the problem.

After the earlier recall, the company said it had identified a manufacturing defect in the batteries of its top-of-the-line smartphone.

It started shipping new Note 7 phones that were supposed to be safer. But reports that even the replacements were catching fire led Samsung to announce it was stopping sales of the devices.

"We would have not taken this measure if it had looked like the problems could be easily resolved," Oh Yu-cheon, a senior official at the Korean Agency for Technology and Standards that oversees product recalls, said in a phone interview. He said it would take more time than the agency originally thought to figure out what's wrong.

In the meantime, the agency is urging consumers not to use the phones.

Samsung scraps Galaxy Note 7 over fire concerns

Dee Decasa holds her replacement Galaxy Note 7 smartphone in an aluminum pan at her home in Honolulu on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, one day after the phone released smoke and sizzled. Samsung said it is halting sales of the Galaxy Note 7 after a spate of fires involving new devices that were supposed to be safe replacements for recalled models. (AP Photo / Audrey McAvoy)

"The improved product does not have the same defect. That's why we think there is a new defect," Oh said.

In a statement issued late Monday, Samsung Electronics Inc. said consumers with original Note 7 devices or replacements they obtained after the recall should turn them off and seek a refund or exchange them for different phones.

Officials from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission echoed that advice, saying they are investigating at least five incidents of fire or overheating reported since a formal recall in the US was announced on Sept 15.

"No one should have to be concerned their phone will endanger them, their family or their property," said Elliot Kaye, chairman of the safety commission, in a statement. He called Samsung's decision to stop distributing the device "the right move" in light of "ongoing safety concerns."

NEW OVERHEATING INCIDENTS

The announcement follows several new incidents of overheating last week and deals a further blow to the world's largest smartphone company. Leading wireless carriers have already said they would stop distributing new Note 7 phones as replacements for the earlier recall.

Samsung scraps Galaxy Note 7 over fire concerns
This Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, photo provided by Andrew Zuis, of Farmington, Minn., shows the replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone belonging to his 13-year-old daughter Abby, that melted in her hand earlier in the day. "She's done with Note 7s right now," Zuis said of his daughter. (Andrew Zuis via AP)

Samsung said it would ask all carriers and retailers to stop selling the phones and providing them as replacements for recalled devices. It said consumers should return their phones to the place where they purchased them. They can also get information from the company's website .

Analysts say the new problems pose a crisis for the South Korean tech giant, which is locked in fierce competition with Apple and other leading smartphone makers.

"This has been a real black eye on the product," said Ben Bajarin, a consumer tech industry analyst with the Creative Strategies firm.

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