U.S. or­ders re­call of Sam­sung Note 7 phones

Baltimore Sun - - ELECTION 2016 - By Hay­ley Tsukayama

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment on Thurs­day moved to re­call Sam­sung’s high­est-end smart­phone — an un­prece­dented move for the smart­phone in­dus­try and one that de­liv­ers a se­vere set­back to Sam­sung in its pur­suit to be­come the world’s premium smart­phone maker.

Sam­sung and the U.S. Con­sumer Prod­uct Safety Com­mis­sion have is­sued an of­fi­cial re­call for the Gal­axy Note 7, Sam­sung’s large- screen smart­phone that has been known to burst into flames. This is the lat­est in a se­ries of re­calls in­volv­ing lithium-ion bat­ter­ies, which can be found in many dif­fer­ent tech­nolo­gies.

In re­cent years, the bat­tery has been blamed for ex­plod­ing hov­er­boards, over­heat­ing lap­tops and the ground­ing of air­planes. But the re­call may draw more at­ten­tion due to the ubiq­uity of smart­phones.

A for­mal re­call al­lows the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to do sev­eral things, in­clud­ing mak­ing it il­le­gal to sell the de­vices or use them on air­planes. Ab­sent that for­mal process, sev­eral air­lines have been an­nounc­ing at the gate or be­fore take­off that the Note 7 can­not be charged or used on flights, cit­ing the ex­plo­sion risk.

This re­call in­volved the Sam­sung Gal­axy Note 7 smart­phone sold be­fore Thurs­day. Note 7 own­ers have two op­tions: They can ei­ther ex­change their af­fected Note 7 phones for a new phone, or get a re­fund.

U.S. of­fi­cials said that 97 per­cent of the Note 7 phones sold in the U.S. have the type of bat­ter­ies that have caused the fires.

The for­mal de­ci­sion comes two weeks af­ter re­ports sur­faced that the smart­phone could ex­plode while users charged their hand­sets.

“Sam­sung re­ceived 92 re­ports of the bat­ter­ies over­heat­ing in the U.S.,” the agency said. These in­clude 26 re­ports of burns and 55 re­ports of prop­erty dam­age — in­clud­ing fires in cars and a garage.

RICHARD DREW/AP

U.S. reg­u­la­tors is­sued an of­fi­cial re­call of Sam­sung’s Gal­axy Note 7, above, be­cause of the risk of fires while charg­ing.

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