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Samsung Faces Big Downturn Over Exploding Note 7s

There will be few tears flowing at Apple offices and stores round the world, after Samsung at the weekend was forced to recall its recently released Galaxy Note 7 upmarket smartphone from world markets, including those in Australia. The move could well prove devastating for Samsung in the run-up to the Christmas peak selling season – especially given the expected arrival of Apple’s new iPhone range in stores this coming Friday.

Samsung is offering early purchasers of the Note 7 their choice of a replacement or refund – and it would not surprise if a fair number choose to take the money and invest in an iPhone rather than another Note 7.

The recall follows reports of the batteries in a number of Note 7 models exploding in various markets round the world – including several in Australia – leading to a decision by most airlines round the world including Australia’s Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Tiger Airways to ban passengers from using or charging Galaxy Note 7 smartphones on their planes – with other airlines certain to follow.

Every Galaxy Note 7 is affected, and every consumer will likely be expecting at the very least an exchange, an alternative handset, or a refund.

“The Note 7 carries the Galaxy branding, and the hard work that Samsung has put in to create a trickle-down effect of success and style will now work in the other direction as the flames of exploding batteries tarnish the entire range,” said one marketing report.

The South Korean tech giant has said there had been 35 instances of Note 7s catching fire or exploding as of September 1 – and presumably more since. Two of these were in Australia, including one in Perth where a man’s phone was scorched as he slept in his hotel room. More than 50,000 of the phones are to be recalled in Australia.

The offending battery brand has not been named, and Samsung will presumably move quickly to replace its batteries with those of another brand – hopefully better tested. But the drama surrounding the Galaxy brand will have had its effect, and many users could well choose to take the refund rather than another Samsung – with some presumably heading for the nearest Apple Store.

The Galaxy Note 7 was launched in Australia on August 19, retailing for $1349. Apple’s new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were announced last week and go on sale in Australia as well as many other nations from this coming Friday. Aussie prices for the basic model start at $1079. The more upmarket iPhone 7 Plus starts at $1269.

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