Look, it’s no secret I’m a bit neurotic about some things (it's why I put cases and screen protectors on all my phones), but I don’t think the anxiety I feel around my Galaxy Note 7 is unfounded. Following the fire of an alleged “safe” model on a recent Southwest Airlines plane, I can’t help but worry that mine might burst up into smoke and flames at any moment.
Bloomberg said last night that Samsung and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission might initiate a second recall, but that won’t be until there’s a conclusion on the safety of the Galaxy Note 7. If the two groups say the phone is safe to use, my fears will be put as ease, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen. Multiple media outlets and investigative reporters have pretty conclusively determined that the Galaxy Note 7 on the Southwest Airlines flight was indeed a “safe” replacement model. A black square icon on the side of the box and a check on the IMEI number confirmed it. Is mine just as prone to fire?
|Image courtesy: Bob Boynton|
I’ve been reading/covering smartphones for over a decade, and I’ve never seen anything like this.
|Screenshot courtesy The Verge|
I’ve never been worried the phone on my desk, in my wallet, next to my bed, or in my little girl's hands might suddenly spew smoke and flames. I’ve never worried that a phone might catch fire while I’m driving. Other phones have ignited, yes. In fact, the AT&T Quickfire was an example of one such product (what an unfortunate name!). But it usually involved a faulty charger, a third-party battery or something more avoidable.
The original Galaxy Note 7 recall was supposed to fix defective batteries, ones that were too large for the compartment they were crammed into. The lack of space was reportedly causing short circuits that caused fires. The new phones are supposed to have batteries that fit the compartments properly, so what’s causing the fires now?
I don’t care how unlikely a fire from my unit might be. Clearly, the man who boarded the Southwest Airlines flight assumed that his Galaxy Note 7 was safe, too. For now, I’m sitting here with a very expensive smartphone that’s prone to fire. I don’t want to use it, and, right now, I can’t return it.
We need answers from Samsung ASAP, before someone else gets hurt.
(Trying to see any humor in all of this)
UPDATE: Hours after writing this article all four major U.S. carriers have agreed to allow users of a replacement Note 7 to swap out their devices.