SEOUL, South Korea — Samsung will issue a global recall of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone as soon as this weekend after its investigation on explosion claims found batteries were at fault, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News.
Samsung Electronics declined to comment on the report on Friday, but said it was conducting the inspection with its partners, it said.
“We will share the findings as soon as possible. Samsung is fully committed to providing the highest quality products to our consumers,” the company said in a statement.
Shipments of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone were delayed in South Korea this week for extra quality control testing. The move came after reports that batteries in some of the jumbo smartphones exploded while they were being charged. Samsung launched the latest version of the Note series just two weeks ago.
Citing an unnamed company official, Yonhap said Samsung’s investigation found that faulty batteries caused the phone to catch fire. The number of the Galaxy Note 7 phones with a faulty battery accounts for “less than 0.1 percent” of the products in the market and Samsung is discussing how to resolve the issue with Verizon and its other partners, the official told Yonhap.
The battery issue is a fresh blow to Samsung’s smartphone business that has been on a recovery track. Samsung reported stellar earnings that beat market expectations in the latest quarter and its stock price was at a record high before the Note 7’s battery problems dented investor sentiment. Samsung’s share rose 0.8 percent early Friday. The stock closed 2 percent lower in the previous session.
Despite the investigation in South Korea, Samsung went ahead with its scheduled launch Thursday of the Galaxy Note 7 in China. Company officials did not reply to questions about how Samsung determined which phones are deemed safe and which require further testing. It did not say if those phones are different from the ones sold in South Korea.
Yonhap News said five or six explosions were reported by consumers. It cited pictures of severely damaged phones shared in local online communities, social media and YouTube. The photos and accounts could not be immediately verified.
There were no confirmed reports of any injuries.
It is unusual for Samsung to confirm a delay in sales of a device, and rare for it to cite a quality issue.
“Every year, there have been accidents of battery explosions but it is the first time that six or seven cases happened within such a short period after the launch of a new product,” said Ha Joon-doo, an analyst at Shinhan Investment Corp.
The Galaxy Note 7 smartphone is the latest iteration of Samsung’s Note series that feature a giant screen and a stylus. The Note series smartphones are one of the most expensive lineups released by Samsung and usually inherit designs and features of the Galaxy S series that debut in the spring. Samsung also added an iris scanner to the Note 7, which lets users unlock the phone by detecting patterns in the eyes.
Samsung launched the Note 7 on Aug. 19 in some markets, including South Korea and the U.S.
Even before the issue of battery explosions emerged, supplies were not keeping up with higher-than-expected demand for the smartphone.
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