Just days before Samsung’s smartphone archrival, Apple, is set to debut its latest iPhone model, the Korean tech giant has confirmed that there have been several dozen cases of its own smartphones exploding while charging, a wave of hazards that has led to suspended sales of its top-end Galaxy Note 7.
The Guardian reported that the company has begun offering replacements for consumers who have already bought the devices. But thus far, a full recall has not been issued.
The reports of explosions come a bare two weeks after the Galaxy Note 7, colloquially known as a “phablet,” was launched.
In a statement, Koh Dong-jin, who serves as the company’s president of mobile business, said: “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.”
The supplier of the battery remained unnamed, but the company has said it works with two to three different battery suppliers. The tally of cases tied to exploding devices stands, thus far, at 35, and replacement devices will be forthcoming in two weeks, the company said. The Note 7 had its initial bow in markets including the United States and South Korea. The news, said The Guardian, helped wipe out several billion dollars worth of stock value on Samsung’s publicly traded stock.
The impact of delayed rollouts (or recalls, should they be widespread) could, of course, be significant in terms of publicity but not yet so far on earnings, as, for example, The Guardian noted that roughly 400,000 units of the Galaxy Note 7 were on tap to be sold in South Korea. In other markets, rollouts went off as planned, such as in China. But the new devices are expected to be only a relatively small subset of total smart device sales.