Samsung's newest smartphone, the Galaxy Note 7, is being recalled worldwide after users reported that the phone exploded or spontaneously caught fire while charging. Samsung investigated the reports and found a problem with the device's lithium battery.
According to the company, 35 units have so far been found to be flawed. The Guardian reports that a total of 2.5 million devices had already been manufactured, and of those, approximately 1 million had been sold. Launches of the device in the U.K. were slated for today.
Samsung has recalled almost all of the shipments which have already been sent to distributors and retailers.
NPR reports that Samsung has also offered to replace the units already sold to customers in 10 different countries, with the exception of the only country that is not subject to the recall: China. The phone as sold in China uses a different battery, and therefore, is likely unaffected.
The recall may come at a bad time for Samsung, as noted by The Verge. The company was reported to be counting on strong sales numbers for the Galaxy Note 7 in order to turn around its decline in profits over the past several years. Competitor Apple is also slated to announce its new iPhone shortly, which may cut further into Samsung's profits and publicity.
South Korea's Yonhap News Agency spoke to a Samsung official on the condition of anonymity a day before the recall announcement, on Sept. 1.
"Products installed with the problematic battery account for less than 0.1 percent of the entire volume sold," said the official. "The problem can be simply resolved by changing the battery, but we'll come up with convincing measures for our consumers."
The president of Samsung's mobile division, Koh Dong-jin, acknowledged the recall would cost the company quite a lot, but noted consumer safety was the company's priority.
“We have received several reports of battery explosions on the Note 7... and it has been confirmed that it was a battery cell problem. There was a tiny problem in the manufacturing process so it was very difficult to find out," Koh said in a press conference Friday, Sept. 2.
Koh went on to state that Samsung is looking into two or three different suppliers for a new battery, and may be considering its own internal SDI battery.
Replacement shipments are expected to take approximately two weeks, according to Samsung.