Despite reports of exploding phones, two government recalls, and monetary incentives, some business users refuse to return their Samsung Galaxy Note7 phones. To further protect users who have not returned the device, Samsung announced this week that it will cap the battery charge for unreturned Note7 smartphones at 60% in Europe, as reported by ZDNet's Cho Mu-Hyun.
The battery cap will set in after an over-the-air update on Saturday, October 29. Samsung issued a similar battery update in South Korea shortly after the phone's first recall in September, and has since expanded it to Australia and other markets.
In Europe, one third of Note7 customers are still using the phones, according to Business Insider.
The question: Why keep a phone that could go up in flames?
"The Note7 has innovative features that are rare or outright not available on other mobile phones," said Martin Taheri, IT operations manager at ScientiaMobile, citing the iris scanner, curved high resolution screen, and the S-Pen.
"The issues with the batteries exploding which are very well-known all over the world by now. In my opinion, is not a new problem or issue specifically for the Note7—every battery cell that comes in your laptops or tablets for example, inherently has this issue," Taheri said. "This means all these devices can explode, just like you can get struck by lightning when walking out the house."
Taheri also said he believes this issue was exacerbated by the release of the new iPhones, and the longstanding battle between tech giants Samsung and Apple.
"I have made my choice long ago, and will keep the Note7 as long as I can or until the FCC tries to pry it from my cold dead hands," Taheri said.
IT leaders do not seem to be deterred by the Note7 failure. Last week, we polled the TechRepublic CIO Jury, asking a panel of IT leaders, "Does the failure of the Galaxy Note7 make you question integrating Samsung products into the enterprise?" Ten out of 12 IT executives answered "No."
"We've been using [Samsung products] for years without issue," said David Wilson, director of IT services at VectorCSP and a member of the CIO Jury. "It's one device."
A quick recap of the Note7 debacle: Samsung's flagship smartphone launched in August, with strong reviews from enterprise users. But soon after, several Note7 owners in Korea and the US reported that the phone's batteries caught fire while charging, leading Samsung to recall the phones in September and issue replacements. However, replacement phones still experienced overheating issues. In October, Samsung completely stopped sales and production of the phones. Today, the Note7 remains banned on most major airlines and train lines.
The company is still investigating the cause of the Note7 fires, representatives said Thursday.
Samsung's third-quarter mobile profits dropped 96%, to $88 million, the company announced Thursday. The company's overall operating profit reached a two-year low of $4.6 billion. However, representatives also said Samsung expects overall earnings to improve in the fourth quarter over even last year, based on profits from its chip and displays businesses.
Earlier this week Samsung announced that it is officially planning a Galaxy Note8, and will offer a 50% monthly discount for South Korean users who exchanged their Note7 for a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge. The Note8 is set to launch in 2017.
You can find Galaxy Note7 refund instructions here.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
- Despite reports of batteries catching fire and two government recalls, some business users are still holding on to their Samsung Galaxy Note7 phones.
- Samsung will issue an over-the-air update on Saturday, capping the battery of Note7s still in use to 60%.
- Those who are still using the phone say its innovative features keep them from returning it.
- US government officially recalls Samsung Galaxy Note7 over battery concerns (TechRepublic)
- Samsung cuts profit forecast by $2.3 billion after Galaxy Note 7 saga (ZDNet)
- Galaxy Note 7, RIP. Samsung, you've got to rebuild the trust (CNET)
- Who's benefitting from the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 meltdown? (ZDNet)
- Samsung's crazy return kit for the Galaxy Note 7 may scare you (CNET)
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.