Samsung caps battery charging on Galaxy Note 7

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Samsung has urged South Korean users of its flagship smartphone to accept a software update limiting recharging of the Galaxy Note 7 batteries – a measure designed to lower the risk of the gadget exploding.

In half-page adverts carried by major South Korean newspapers, the technology giant on Wednesday called on the users of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone to agree to a software update aimed at limiting battery recharges to 60 percent.

“It is a measure that prioritizes consumer safety but we apologize for the inconvenience,” the ad said.

The announcement reinforces the urgency with which Samsung is trying to contain its deepest crisis in years. The company announced the recall of its best-reviewed phones on Sept. 2 after receiving 35 cases of the device overheating or catching fire. A week later, it urged South Korean users to immediately power off their phones.

It’s unclear if or when Samsung will also push out updates in other countries where the Note 7 went on sale, including the United States and China. The software’s availability may vary in each market depending on the local situation and requirements, the company said in an e-mailed statement to news agency Bloomberg.

“We plan to carry out the Galaxy Note 7 software update starting from 2 a.m. on Sept. 20,” Samsung said, adding that the measure would only apply to phones that hadn’t been exchanged for new ones in a recall planned for Sept. 19. “This is a measure we are taking for our customers’ safety but we apologize for the inconvenience caused.”

Recall snub

The company has announced it will recall about 2.5 million smartphones of this model, with customers receiving temporary replacement phones provided by the firm until it releases new Note 7s.

But many users have snubbed the offer, choosing to wait until the new phones are available, citing the inconvenience of switching devices for an interim period.

Since the global launch of the oversized “phablet” smartphone in August, several users have posted images on social media showing the charred device, saying it suddenly caught fire. Samsung said the problem was caused by a faulty battery cell produced by one of its suppliers, but refused to give the name of the company.

Samsung lost $22 billion (19.5 billion euros) in market value over the two days from Friday after regulators, airlines and the company itself warned against the use of the devices.

In the newspaper ad, the global mobile phone leader said its Galaxy Note 7 would be “reborn as a loved and trusted brand through more rigorous quality control.”

uhe/cjc (AFP, Bloomberg)

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