Samsung halts Note7 production following fires

The Galaxy Note7 was one of Samsung's flagship products. Image courtesy of Flickr - Mike Mozart
The Galaxy Note7 was one of Samsung's flagship products. Image courtesy of Flickr - Mike Mozart

South Korean electronics company Samsung Electronics has taken action to halt production of the Galaxy Note7 smartphone.

The production halt follows a wide range of reports indicating that the phones were liable to catch fire or explode under certain circumstances.

Previously the company had temporarily halted sales and issued a recall for the product in order to facilitate refurbishment.

However, even after this measure was taken, reports continued to come in of refurbished devices exploding or catching fire, prompting the company to make the decision to completely halt production.

“Because consumers’ safety remains our top priority, Samsung will ask all carrier and retail partners globally to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note7,” the company said in a statement.

Samsung also took the unprecedented step of urging users to immediately stop using their Note7 devices.

“Consumers with either an original Galaxy Note7 or replacement Galaxy Note7 device should power down and stop using the device,” Samsung requested.

While following the initial recall of the devices Samsung identified the battery as the source of the fires, now the cause is less certain.

According to the New York Times, the company has failed to reproduce the fires or explosions in testing, leaving them completely in the dark as to their cause.

The Note7 itself, was billed as a competitor to the iPhone 7 and as one of the most advanced phones on the market. Many now speculate that the device was so ambitious and complex that Samsung was unable to test for every possible interaction or mode of failure prior to shipping.

Samsung shares slide

Following this latest decision by Samsung, the company’s share price has seen steep falls. Over the course of the last week, the company has lost more than 10% of its total value, as investors weighed in on the failure of a flagship product.

The ending of production for the Note7 will reportedly cost the company billions dollars and could have a noticeable impact on South Korea’s overall economy.

Currently, a non-trivial 2% of the country’s total export earnings are estimated to come from the sale of Samsung mobile handsets.

The South Korean government has reportedly been closely monitoring the situation, however has not yet suggested a response.