People who travel usually carry what is known as a smartphone as part of their arsenal of required tools wherever they go in the world — as they can act as a telephone, alarm clock, currency converter, calculator, music device, camera, a vehicle to access the Internet, calendar, notepad, video camera, movie player, and perform other multiple useful functions — but millions of smartphones recalled due to battery fires of one specific brand can be potentially damaging to the sales of one particular company.
Millions of Smartphones Recalled Due to Battery Fires
This press release from Samsung Electronics America, Incorporated announced yesterday the immediate availability of the United States Product Exchange Program for owners of Galaxy Note7 smartphones, which was launched in response to the recent announcement pertaining to a “small number” of isolated issues with lithium ion battery cells associated with Galaxy Note7 devices.
The affected inventory has been identified by Samsung, which has stopped sales and shipments of those Galaxy Note7 devices.
If you are affected by the recall, the United States Product Exchange Program will offer you a gift card or bill credit worth $25.00 from select carrier retail outlets when choosing a Galaxy S7 family device or the Galaxy Note 7 device within the exchange program — as well as your choice of the following options where you can exchange your current Galaxy Note7 device:
- With a new Galaxy Note7 device, which should become available next week; or
- For a Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge device and replacement of any Note7 specific accessories — with a refund of the price difference between devices
Galaxy Note7 owners can contact or visit the retail outlet where they purchased their device or call 1-800-SAMSUNG to initiate a product exchange and to resolve any other questions or concerns.
A Synopsis of the Checkered History of Lithium Ion Batteries
Lithium ion batteries have been a bane for commercial aviation for years, as they pose potential hazards to air travel due to their unpredictable combustible nature. Limits on the transportation of lithium batteries were first implemented by the Transportation Security Administration of the United States back in December of 2007 and became effective as of Tuesday, January 1, 2008.
The transporting of UN3480 lithium ion batteries as cargo on any airplanes which carry passengers became prohibited in Canada effective as of Friday, April 1, 2016 in order to protect the safety of the public.
Some airlines — both passenger and cargo — and other governments already have their own similar directives to the one recently issued in Canada. This document pertaining to guidance of the transport of lithium batteries was issued by the International Air Transport Association on December 15, 2014; and it contains detailed information and photographs of examples of lithium batteries.
A final rule which explicitly bans the use of electronic cigarettes on commercial airplanes — which applies to all scheduled flights of carriers based within and outside of the United States involving transportation within, to, and from the United States — was recently implemented by the Department of Transportation of the United States. Electronic cigarettes are considered hazardous because of incidents such as the one where an electronic cigarette reportedly burned a small hole in a piece of checked baggage located inside of an Embraer 190 airplane operated by JetBlue Airways at Logan International Airport in Boston on Saturday, August 9, 2014, causing the evacuation of passengers from the aircraft whose destination was Buffalo.
Delta Air Lines flight 689 was delayed on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 when an electronic cigarette ignited inside a bag carried aboard the airplane by a passenger while the McDonnell Douglas MD-90 aircraft carrying 160 passengers was still on the tarmac at the international airport which serves the greater Atlanta metropolitan area, according to this article written by Carla Caldwell of the Atlanta Business Chronicle. The bag was extinguished with no damage to the aircraft, which arrived late at its destination in Saint Louis.
The dangers of lithium ion batteries were arguably most famously illustrated by the flawed rollout of the new Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” airplanes, which were initially plagued with problems. A battery fire occurred in January of 2013 at Logan International Airport in Boston — which prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to ground the entire fleet of Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” aircraft worldwide for months; and lithium battery fires contributed to the temporary removal of the aircraft from service of the fleets of both All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines back in January of 2013.
Smartphones and other portable electronic devices are generally safe to carry and use, thankfully — especially when brought aboard a limited enclosed space such as the passenger cabin of an airplane.
Samsung has taken the proactive measure of voluntarily recalling approximately 2.5 million Galaxy Note7 devices to ensure that its customers can safely use those devices — despite the possibility of negatively impacting the financial bottom line for the company — and they deserve at least some credit for that action to protect the consumer.