Users of Samsung Note 7 Told to Turn Off Phone Because of Fire Risk

Samsung Electronics’ problems continue for its Note 7 smartphones across South Korea and the U.S. as users there were urged to turn off their phones immediately and to stop charging them. At the same time, authorities across the globe told passengers not to turn the devices on during flight.

The latest warnings came from Samsung and the U.S. Consumer Product and Safety Commission. The two are in discussions about a recall of the handsets as quickly as possible.

Close to three dozen of the smartphones, which were released only in the past three weeks, had batteries catch fire or explode.

The consumer warning released was based upon reports that involve the lithium ion batteries found in some Note 7 devices that resulted in fires, said a statement released by the CPSC.

The incidents occurred during normal use and while charging the smartphone, which led the commission to call for all customers to turn off their Note 7 until further notice.

These troubles arrive during a critical period for Samsung. The electronics giant rolled the Note 7 out in August to give it a jump start on the new iPhone 7 launched this week, However, the advantage has disappeared and Samsung shares dropped by 3.9% in Friday trading in Korea, the largest drop since the beginning of 2016.

This recent introduction of new smartphones by two of the global leaders in the smartphone market is critical for competition.

The trouble Samsung is having is a plus for Apple and its competitive position where it involves Samsung.

The holiday quarter is quickly nearing with less than a month before it starts. Therefore, Samsung must move quickly to have the devices recalled that have the faulty batteries and replace units to people who have purchased the model.

Samsung has announced a worldwide voluntary recall of each of the 2.5 million Note 7 devices that were already shipped. The cost for Samsung will be as high as $1 billion.

On Saturday, users were told by Samsung in Korea to stop using their devices and bring them into the service centers of the company.

Customers may rent a replacement smartphone until the new batteries for the Note 7 become available, which is scheduled for September 19.

It was not clear in the statement by Samsung if the fixed models of the Note 7 would be offered in other areas on that same date.

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David Glass

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