Samsung has stopped shipments of the Galaxy Note 7 in Korea, and nobody really knows why.
The company told Korean media that it halted shipments to local carriers “due to additional tests being conducted for product quality.”
Something has clearly gone awry – no company conducts quality testing after a high profile device has hit the market, and to halt shipments for routine testing would be unthinkable.
It’s likely that Samsung discovered a serious issue with some of the Note 7 units it has manufactured so far and that this problem cannot be solved through a software update.
So what kind of hardware issue could Samsung be dealing with? The company has previously said that it’s having difficulties manufacturing enough Note 7 units to meet demand. But the halt could actually be related to the handful of reports of “explosions” and fires that have occurred since the phone began shipping on August 19.
One such report emerged last week, when a user in China said that their Note 7 “exploded” while charging (with a microUSB to USB Type-C converter.) A similar report came out just today. The picture below is of a Note 7 that allegedly caught fire while charging.
We didn’t cover either of these reports because, frankly, they don’t mean much – incidents like these happen regularly with phones from all manufacturers. Plus, in most cases, it’s very hard to tell what really happened: Was the phone used with the original accessories? Was the device tampered with in any way? Did the phone had proper ventilation?
According to a report from Korea’s Yonhap news agency, there were at least five reports involving the Note 7 catching fire, in Korea and abroad.
To be clear, Samsung did not confirm or deny that the shipment halt has anything to do with the reports about the Note 7 catching fire. It’s tempting to make that connection, but for now, we don’t really know what happened.
Samsung will probably clear up the situation very soon – the last thing the Korean giant needs is a runaway rumor about the safety of its flagship device. If the halt is indeed related to the fire incidents, a recall is possible, but until Samsung officially makes an announcement, there’s no point in worrying about it.
Are these reports enough to make you worried about the Note 7?