Here's all the information you need about the Galaxy Note 7 fires and recall — the events that led to the phone being discontinued.
After months of twists and turns since September 2016, the Galaxy Note 7 story has (effectively) come to an end. The core of the situation is that Samsung faced a serious issue with Galaxy Note 7 phones that have a high propensity of batteries failing and in many cases catching on fire, leading to personal and property damage. In the original, pre-recall Note 7, hundreds of phones worldwide had critical failures.
Following initial reports of fires the phone was recalled officially in the U.S. once, and Samsung launched exchange programs in other countries. But the new models continued to see further issues, with replacement catching on fire in early October. This led to Samsung telling Note 7 owners to stop using the phones and return them, before permanently discontinuing the Note 7 worldwide. Shortly thereafter, the U.S. CPSC officially issued a second recall. The Note 7 is well and truly finished.
Here's everything you need to know about this unprecedented situation.
How did we get here?
Following worldwide reports of battery failures and fires with the Galaxy Note 7 in early September, including nearly 100 cases in the U.S. alone, Samsung and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced a complete official recall of all Galaxy Note 7s in the U.S. Similar movements were made in Canada, as well as throughout Europe and Asia. Regions in which the phone had yet to launch simply postponed shipments of phones.
The whole saga lasted over three months.
Weeks later, with the recall in full swing and old Note 7s being replaced by hundreds of thousands of new "safe" models, reports started to arise of the same exact failures happening with these replacement phones. With consumers quickly losing faith in the Note 7 name, carriers in early October voluntarily offered free returns and exchanges for all Note 7s, and eventually stopped selling the phone altogether.
On October 10, Samsung issued a statement that it was halting sales of the Galaxy Note 7 globally and encouraging consumers to return their Galaxy Note 7 to where they bought it from. Shortly after, Samsung officially canceled the phone, and the U.S. authorities issued a second recall, banning sales of the Note 7, and forbidding passengers from bringing it onboard airplanes. Major airlines banned the use of the phone while on planes, shortly followed by the FAA officially banning it on all flights.
On December 9, Samsung finally started pushing an update to Note 7s in the U.S. that would all-but-brick the phones, limiting battery capacity and functionality when not plugged in. It's an update that had been released with various differences other regions, but the release in the U.S. marks a final push to get the last Note 7s still in the wild returned to Samsung. At the time, some 125,000 phones still remained in use by the public.
Can I keep using my Note 7?
Samsung's official stance is that all Galaxy Note 7 owners — of both old and new phones — should return their phone to the carrier or retailer they purchased it from as soon as possible. Even if your phone "seems" fine, it absolutely is not. Because of the situation with the phone there are extended return and exchange periods for owners of the Note 7, and there shouldn't be any issues with having your purchase refunded or your phone exchanged for a different model.
Samsung has an updated Note 7 recall page with information on how to contact various U.S. retailers for a refund or exchange. The company has done the same in Canada, asking customers to call 1-800-SAMSUNG to find the closest place to return their Note 7. And in the UK, carriers say that while they haven't taken direct action just yet, they are monitoring the situation and are in contact with Samsung.
Where do we go from here?
Samsung's has finally put things to bed by announcing that the Note 7 will no longer be made:
Taking our customer's safety as our highest priority, we have decided to halt sales and production of the Galaxy Note 7.
It's hard to think of any situation in which Samsung would want to keep using the "Note" name in future products, but there have yet to be any rumors either way. Samsung will surely now be looking to its next flagship, the Galaxy S8, to rebuild consumer trust.