Samsung's Note7 smartphone woes lingered for more than five weeks after reports began coming in about battery fires and explosions just after the devices were first debuted in late August. Samsung addressed those initial reports by investigating the devices that had fires and starting its own global recall, and then in September cooperated with U.S. regulators at the CPSC when the agency issued a government recall of a million of the handsets due to at least 100 reports of fires and explosions from consumers.
But in late September, after new post-recall phones began being distributed, new reports of battery fires began arriving. The first came in from a consumer in China who said that his brand-new, post-recall Note7 smoked and caught fire, while earlier in October another replacement Note7 reportedly began smoking in a Southwest Airlines jet in Texas as the aircraft prepared to depart.
Instead of showing off its flagship Note7 phone to a waiting marketplace, Samsung had to concentrate on fixing a worrisome fire problem and hoped that its consumers didn't start heading for the exits.
After the Southwest Airlines fire report, Samsung issued a statement on Oct. 7 that said it was investigating the report and will "share findings as soon as possible." The company said it was in close contact with the CPSC about the new report.
"Samsung understands the concern our carriers and consumers must be feeling after recent reports have raised questions about our newly released replacement Note7 devices," the statement said. "If we conclude a safety issue exists, we will work with the CPSC to take immediate steps to address the situation. We want to reassure our customers that we take every report seriously and we appreciate their patience as we work diligently through this process."
The CPSC, which ordered the Samsung recall in September, quickly launched an investigation into the Note7 fire incident on the jet.
Some 1 million Note7 smartphones were recalled Sept. 15 by the CPSC after at least 92 battery fires or explosions were reported with the new phones due to a defect in the handsets' batteries. The move came after a series of fires were reported in the lithium-ion battery in the devices, which could "overheat and catch fire, posing a serious burn hazard to consumers," the agency said.
Under the recall, the CPSC advised owners to immediately stop using and power down the recalled Galaxy Note7 devices purchased before Sept. 15 to prevent further fires or injuries.
The Note7 has some similarities to Samsung's S7 and S7 Edge smartphones, which were released in March, as well as some new features. The Note7 is a 4G LTE phone with all-new iris-scanning capabilities for security, an integrated S Pen stylus, a first-ever "Secure Folder" feature and other updates aimed at making users productive and creative. It is slimmer and more rounded compared with the previous version, the Note 5, which debuted in August 2015.
Highlighting the Note7 is a 5.7-inch quad HD dual-edge Super AMOLED display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 octa-core 64-bit processor, 4GB of LPDDR4 memory, 64GB of on-board storage, a microSD slot for additional storage via memory cards up to 256GB and the Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow operating system.