When the Galaxy Note 7 was launched with much fanfare early last month, it was hailed by many as quite possibly the best smartphone ever. However, that euphoria quickly died down for Samsung, when dozens of users started complaining that their Note 7 devices were catching on fire. After conducting an internal investigation into the cause of the reported incidents, the South Korean tech company promptly issued an unprecedented global recall of around 2.5 million Galaxy Note 7 smartphones because of an alleged flaw in their batteries. According to Samsung Electronics, the batteries from its group company, Samsung SDI, have “a very rare manufacturing process error” which allows the anode and cathode to come into direct contact with one another, causing them to overheat and in many cases, catch fire.
With reports of such battery explosions becoming increasingly common over the past few weeks, many aviation regulators issued advisories earlier this month against the Galaxy Note 7 for the safety of airline passengers. That includes the U.S Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Japanese aviation authorities and also the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in India. At least one of them, however, has now withdrawn its advisory, but only for Galaxy Note 7 units bought after September 15th. The DGCA, which had originally issued a circular on the 9th of this month asking airline passengers not to turn on or charge their Galaxy Note 7 smartphone on board, has now reportedly lifted its restrictions on using the device on commercial airplanes as long as they are the ‘safe’ ones as indicated by a green marker from Samsung.
Although the new Galaxy Note 7 units are yet to reach Indian shores and Samsung hasn’t said anything officially about when those SKUs are likely to go on sale in the country, unconfirmed reports indicate the device will be available for purchase at some stage towards the end of next month. With all the negative publicity surrounding its new flagship, Samsung’s earnings are expected to take a huge hit this year, with analysts warning that the controversy could wipe off a whopping $5 billion from Samsung’s topline in this fiscal. The long-term effect, however, is something that investors will be even more worried about going forward, given that confidence in the company’s quality-control measures is something that may well be affected because of the controversy.