Samsung to brick remaining Galaxy Note7s through software update

This replacement Note7 allegedly caught fire in Farmington, Minnesota. Image: Andrew Zuis/Macworld



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12 December 2016 | 0

The days are numbered for the last remaining Galaxy Note7 holdouts. In an effort to safeguard any devices that are still in circulation, Samsung announced it will be pushing out a software update in the US that will prevent charging, effectively bricking the beleaguered handset.

In a press release, Samsung said that while it has had “overwhelming participation” in the Note7 US recall programme, some 7% of devices remain in customers’ hands. Starting 19 December and rolling out over the following 30 days, the company will be working with carriers to ensure any outstanding devices are rendered inoperable and returned, though it remains to be seen how cooperative they will be.

Not all operators are convinced this is the right strategy, however. In a statement released shortly after Samsung’s announcement, Verizon said it will not be taking part in the update “because of the added risk this could pose to Galaxy Note7 users that do not have another device to switch to. … We do not want to make it impossible to contact family, first responders, or medical professionals in an emergency situation.”

The update coincides with a move by Samsung to place “functional limitations” on battery charging, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth in Canada, as well as restrict access to any Canadian cellular network.

After Samsung’s own voluntary recall of the device failed to stop the phones from catching fire and exploding, the US government issued an official recall of the Note7 in September to prevent further incidents. Samsung has been mum on what caused the issue, but signs point to a case that was too thin for the battery.

A similar statement has yet to appear on Samsung’s Irish website, with the last official update being on 18 October announcing the recall programme.

IDG News Service


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