Wed, Mar 29, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Samsung to refurbish, sell fire-prone Galaxy Note 7s

Reuters, SEOUL

Tech giant Samsung Electronics Co Ltd late on Monday said it plans to sell refurbished versions of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone, the model pulled from markets last year due to fire-prone batteries.

Samsung’s Note 7s were permanently scrapped in October last year following a global recall, roughly two months from the launch of the nearly US$900 devices, after some smartphones self-combusted.

A subsequent probe found manufacturing problems in batteries supplied by two different companies — Samsung SDI Co Ltd and Amperex Technology Ltd.

Analysis from Samsung and independent researchers found no other problems in the Note 7 devices except the batteries, raising speculation that Samsung would recoup some of its losses by selling refurbished Note 7s.

A person familiar with the matter in January told reporters that Samsung was considering the possibility of selling refurbished versions of the device or reusing some parts.

However, Samsung’s announcement that revamped Note 7s would go back on sale surprised some with the timing — just days before it launches its new S8 smartphone today in the US, its first new premium smartphone since the debacle last year.

Samsung, under huge pressure to turn its image around after the burning battery scandal, had previously not commented on its plans for recovered handsets.

“Regarding the Galaxy Note 7 devices as refurbished phones or rental phones, applicability is dependent upon consultations with regulatory authorities and carriers, as well as due consideration of local demand,” Samsung said in a statement, adding that the firm would pick the markets and release dates for refurbished Note 7s accordingly.

The company estimated that it took a US$5.5 billion profit hit over three quarters from the Note 7’s troubles. It had sold more than 3 million Note 7s before taking the smartphones off the market.

The company also plans to recover and use or sell reusable components, such as chips and camera modules, and extract rare metals such as copper, gold, nickel and silver from Note 7 devices it opts not to sell as refurbished products.

The firm had been under pressure from environmental rights group Greenpeace and others to come up with environmentally friendly ways to deal with the recovered Note 7s.

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