Brian Greene's replacement Galaxy Note 7 caught fire on a Southwest Airlines plane as it prepared for a flight from Louisville to Baltimore Wednesday. The Note 7 in question was verified to be a replacement device according to The Verge, and the owner had turned the phone off as directed by the flight crew prior to the fire. The phone burned long enough and hot enough to burn through the carpet and into the subflooring on the Boeing 737. The flight was canceled and passengers, including Greene, were placed on other flights.
This is worrisome.
Not because we think the replacement Note 7 phones still suffer from the same defects the original units did, but because of the scrutiny Samsung is placed under because of it. Lithium batteries are dangerous. The Note 7 issues have put that in the spotlight, and people who had no idea how dangerous they could be are a bit surprised. When you factor in an acceptable failure rate for anything that has the potential to cause some pretty serious damage, things can look scary.
It's possible that this is what's happening here. Batteries are failing at a normal rate, but because some are inside Samsung products, we want to talk about them. This can't be good for Samsung, and every time it happens in a Note 7 the buzz goes into overdrive once again. How Samsung handles the bad press is going to be very important, and we're all paying close attention.