The Galaxy Note 7 is dead. And it’s about time—for more than just buyers of the device, but for Samsung as well.
After a bungled recall following reports of the devices exploding & catching fire (which Re/code has a video of, if you’re interested), it appears replacement Galaxy Note 7s issued by Samsung are experiencing the same problems. Flight attendants nationwide have warned fliers against powering on their device on airplanes since the initial recall, obviously counterintuitive to a phablet product designed with a business person in mind.
On Monday, both Samsung & U.S. safety regulators urged Galaxy Note 7 owners, whether their device was original or a replacement, to power down their phone and return it for a refund. This was a day after all four major carriers here already decided they wouldn’t issue replacement devices for the Note 7—another considerable ding to the Samsung brand.
Though a second recall has yet to be issued, Samsung is preparing by sending out—get this—fireproof return boxes for Note 7 owners to mail their faulty devices back in. And production on new Galaxy Note 7 handsets has been officially discontinued.
Now, it’s time for Samsung to start thinking about its future. Forget the estimated billions that will be lost on the Note 7, and the fact that the company will be down one flagship model going into the holidays—all of this is already spoken for. The longer this drags on, the worse this becomes for the Samsung smartphone brand; one that, while popular worldwide, has its fair share of competition from not only Android-based models (including the new Google Pixel), but from Apple’s iPhone as well. And while Samsung may have a loyal fanbase with its Galaxy S models, exploding phones isn’t an easy thing to come back from.
As for the Note sub-label, the S-Pen stylus’ popularity aside, Samsung will have to do something pretty damn spectacular to win consumers back to this line after these incidents. A first recall was bad enough—but if the situation was corrected, people would probably forgive and forget. At this point, forgetting is an impossibility; Samsung’s only hope is forgiveness, and a groundbreaking development in their Galaxy Note 8 model.