Despite Samsung's repeated call to users of Galaxy Note 7 to return or exchange their handstes, a large number of such buyers have still not returned their handsets, preferring not to exchange them for other Samsung phones. While Samsung has already restricted battery lives of such handsets to 60% to avoid any more issues of them burning up or exploding, the company has now decided to restrict the ability of Note 7 batteries from charging, thereby ensuring that they will not be usable anymore.
"Consumer safety remains our highest priority and we’ve had overwhelming participation in the U.S. Note7 Refund and Exchange Program so far, with more than 93 percent of all recalled Galaxy Note7 devices returned," said a statement from Samsung.
"To further increase participation, a software update will be released starting on December 19th and will be distributed within 30 days. This software update will prevent U.S. Galaxy Note7 devices from charging and will eliminate their ability to work as mobile devices. Together with our carrier partners, we will be notifying consumers through multiple touchpoints to encourage any remaining Galaxy Note7 owners to participate in the program and to take advantage of the financial incentives available," it added.
While the statement covers only Galaxy Note 7 handsets sold in the U.S, there's no doubt that Samsung will extend it's decision to other countries including the UK where millions of Note 7 handsets are still in possession of customers. Recently, Instrumental, a service provider which offers specialised services for hardware manufacturing, said that the Galaxy Note 7's design concept led to batteries burning up since the design allowed very little space for an electrolyte which separated anodes and cathodes, thus allowing them to come in contact frequently and heating up the battery. If this is indeed the case, then Samsung wouldn't allow Galaxy Note 7 handsets to remain with customers as they would pose a threat to them.
A couple of weeks ago, the Korea Herald reported that Samsung will finally announce the results of an internal investigation before the end of the year. The internal investigation was launched on November 11 and involved product safety authorities both in Korea as well as the United States. Samsung had initially thought that faulty batteries were the source of all the troubles but later said that the explosions may have been caused by other factors. If the report is true, then we should expect Samsung to officially announce the real cause behind Note 7 explosions soon enough.