Galaxy Note 7 Shipments on Hold Due to Explosions While Charging
Samsung has reportedly delayed additional shipments of its new Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after reports that some devices have exploded during charging. The South Korea-based company has suspended shipments of the phones since early this week even though the exact cause of the decision has not yet been confirmed, according to reports.
We reached out to Samsung for comment but did not receive a response before press time. However, according to a statement from the company quoted in today's Wall Street Journal, "Galaxy Note 7 shipments are being delayed as devices are undergoing additional quality inspection tests."
The Korea Herald reported there have been "several" reports of Galaxy Note 7 phones exploding in Korea and elsewhere. Launched on August 19, the new phone has received more than 400,000 pre-orders, more than twice the number reported for the Galaxy S7 that came out in March, according to the paper.
USB-C or Wireless Charging
Since its launch, the Galaxy Note 7 has garnered mostly stellar reviews, earning descriptions like "incredible," "glorious" and "remarkable." Until now, the main disadvantage of the device has been its price -- $849.99 and up.
Weighing 169 grams with a thickness of 7.9 millimeters, the Galaxy Note 7 has a 5.7-inch AMOLED screen with a Quad HD resolution of 2560 x 1440, or 515 ppi. The U.S. version of the phone is powered by quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processors. The device is water- and dust-resistant, and comes with a security-focused iris scanner, advanced stylus support and an improved 12MP camera.
Among the Note 7's other features is a 3500mAh battery that supports fast charging either wirelessly or via a USB-C port. Introduced in 2014, the USB-C standard was designed to support faster charging and data transfers than older model USB cables.
The USB Implementers Forum standards body recently launched a new certification program that establishes quality controls for USB Type-C connectors. The program was developed in response to the appearance of non-compliant USB Type-C connectors on the market that have been blamed for damaging devices or posing risks for overheating and fires.
Cause of Fires Uncertain
It's unclear at this time whether any of the reported Galaxy Note 7 explosions might be related to the use of non-compliant USB Type-C connectors. Over the years, however, a number of reports of exploding batteries and fires have emerged for many different types of devices.
Among those who have offered warnings against non-compliant chargers and connectors is Benson Leung, a Google engineer who has posted online reviews of peripherals to help users avoid safety and performance issues.
The lithium-ion batteries used in most of today's smartphones can also pose safety risks because of their flammability. In fact, both United Airlines and Delta Air Lines last year banned the bulk shipment of lithium-ion batteries on passenger planes because of the potential fire hazard.
If confirmed, the Note 7 issues could pose big problems for Samsung. "Quality control problems, if confirmed, could deal a major blow to the world's top smartphone maker as the firm is counting on the sales of the new device to maintain sales momentum for the mobile business in the second half of this year," Fortune noted today.
Image credit: Product shots by Samsung.