Nearly two weeks after Samsung recalled the Galaxy Note 7 due to the risk of explosion, the device is still being used just as frequently by its owners. This is according to data from Apteligent, a mobile analytics company that claims “usage rate of the phone among existing users has been almost the exact same since the day of the recall.”
It seems not even exploding batteries can tear users away from their smartphones, but the apparent reticence of users to get rid of their faulty devices is not being helped by Samsung’s mismanagement of the recall process. Swapping 2.5 million smartphones is certainly no easy task, but the South Korean firm has not helped the situation by issuing confusing information to consumers. The longer the situation goes on, the more damage it does to the company’s brand.
A few notes about the Note 7 problems. First, this is no laughing matter. There’s a reason not even Apple made fun of Samsung’s problems during the iPhone event (something Apple normally revels in), because they, too, know that such manufacturing defects in which real people can get hurt can actually happen to anyone. Battery technology effectively comes down to stuffing highly flammable and dangerous liquids and chemicals in pressurised containers in your pockets, and lithium-ion batteries have a long history of catching fire and exploding.
Second, unlike the doom and gloom you read everywhere, this whole story will be out of the media and out of the public’s eye (if it’s even been in the latter’s eye to begin with) a few months from now, and nobody will care. This will do far, far less to damage Samsung’s brand than people think (or hope).
Third, that being said, Samsung is indeed not handling the recall very well. There should’ve been a quicker response, a clearer response, a more pervasive response. These things pose a real danger to people, and should’ve been taken off the street much, much quicker than this.
I hope we won’t have to read about people dying because of this.