Samsung has recalled all of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones after finding batteries in some of the flagship gadgets had exploded or caught fire.
The phones are being pulled from shelves in 10 countries, including South Korea and the United States, two weeks after the product’s launch.
Customers who have already bought Note 7s will be able to swap them for new smartphones in about two weeks, said Koh Dong-jin, president of Samsung’s mobile business.
He apologised for the inconvenience and concern to customers.
The recall, the first for the new smartphone, comes at a crucial moment in Samsung’s mobile business. Apple is scheduled to announce its new iPhone next week and Samsung’s mobile division was counting on momentum from the Note 7’s strong reviews and higher-than-expected demand.
Samsung said it had confirmed 35 instances of Note 7s catching fire or exploding. There have been no reports of injuries. The company said it has not found a way to tell exactly which phones may endanger users out of the 2.5m Note 7s already sold globally. It estimated that about 24 out of 1m units may have a faulty battery.
After complaints surfaced online, Samsung found that a battery cell made by one of its two battery suppliers caused the phone to catch fire. Mr Koh refused to name the supplier.
“There was a tiny problem in the manufacturing process, so it was very difficult to figure out,” he told reporters at a news conference.
“It will cost us so much it makes my heart ache. Nevertheless, the reason we made this decision is because what is most important is customer safety.”
Customers’ reports of scorched phones prompted Samsung to conduct extra quality controlling tests and delay shipments of the Note 7s this week before the recall.
China is not affected by the sales suspension. The company said it used a battery made by another supplier for the Note 7s sold in China.
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