Samsung Electronics was on fire earlier this year, but has it crossed the line to full supernova?
The company on Friday said it will recall all of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones worldwide in the wake of reports the device’s battery explodes during charging.
The announcement comes just two weeks after the device’s August 19 launch and follows Samsung’s acknowledgement that it was delaying shipments of the device to conduct further quality testing.
In a statement, Samsung said a “battery cell issue” was discovered with the device, and noted 35 battery-related incidents had been reported as of September 1.
Samsung said it has halted sales of the Note 7 and will “voluntarily replace” the device in the coming weeks for anyone who has already purchased the smartphone. The New York Times indicated the recall would impact approximately 2.5 million devices in 10 countries around the globe.
The timing of the recall couldn’t be worse for Samsung.
Apple is expected to reveal its iPhone refresh next week, meaning Samsung won’t have any time to re-ramp Note 7 sales before its main competition hits the market. And that jump on Apple has been critical for the Korean company in the past.
Earlier this year, Samsung bumped up the launch of its new Galaxy S7 flagship device to head off Apple’s announcement by several weeks. The move helped propel stronger-than-expected sales of the S7, resulting in a bright first quarter and profits that clocked in at a two-year high in the second quarter.
According to Strategy Analytics figures, the S7 edge was the top-selling Android smartphone in the first half of this year, with an estimated 13.3 million units shipped. The S7 came in third place with 11.8 million units shipped, just behind the second place Samsung J2 with 13 million units shipped.
Despite the fumble, Samsung may still have a shot with the Note 7. If Apple’s iPhone refresh is lackluster, customers may decide its worth it to take a chance on the Note 7 despite the damage to its reputation.