Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. announced Friday it will resume the sale of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in its home country, South Korea, from Sept. 28., according to a report by Reuters. The world’s top smartphone maker recalled nearly 2.5 million of its latest flagship device after reports surfaced of the device catching fire, mostly while on charge.
The battery-related problems surfaced just two weeks after its Aug. 19 launch. The company stooped the sale of the phone and announced a recall for 10 countries, including South Korea and the United States, on Sept. 2. For users who decided to continue using the device despite the recall notice, Samsung plans to launch a software update, which would prevent the smartphones from overheating by limiting the maximum charge. In an advertisement in a South Korean newspaper, the company announced the update will be available from Sept. 20, adding: “It is a measure to put consumer safety first but we apologize for causing inconvenience.”
An employee helps customers purchase a Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy Note 7 at its store in Seoul, Sept. 2, 2016. Photo: REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo
A Samsung spokeswoman told Reuters that the company will decide to restart sales in other countries on a case-by-case basis, depending on individual markets. This leaves users in other countries, like the U.S., in a state of uncertainty for now. For Australia, however, sales are expected to resume early October.
It is also unclear if the phones that are set to return to the market will be entirely new devices or recalled phones with the batteries replaced.
After the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued an official recall in the U.S. Thursday, Reuters reported that the smartphone maker will provide refunds or by Wednesday next week, offer replacements for the 1 million devices that were sold in the country.
However, this issue could be hugely detrimental to Samsung’s credibility in the country, analysts say. Neil Mawston of Strategy Analytics told the Wall Street Journal: “The U.S. is Samsung’s biggest smartphone market so the company must fix any problems there as a top priority. … Samsung cannot afford to lose an inch of competitive ground to Apple in its home U.S. market.”