Could the Note 7 still make a surprise return?


You can’t keep a good phone down, it seems. The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has been recalled twice and discontinued once, but it looks like the Lazarus-like phablet will be rising from the dead once more. Albeit, probably not in Australia.

The Korean Economic Daily reports that the flammable phablet will make a return, without the whole flammable USP. Now that Samsung has gotten to the bottom of what was making the Note 7 go pop, the company is said to be planning a relaunch in emerging markets such as India and Vietnam. As part of the rebirth, the guilty-looking 3,500mAh batteries will be replaced with something a little less spicy – 3,000 to 3,200mAh, sources suggest.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why Samsung would consider the refurbishment route. The company is sitting on around 2.5 million Note 7s returned by customers. Not only is reselling the fixed phones an opportunity to recoup some of the losses the whole debacle contributed to, but it will limit future fines too. Disposing of 2.5 million handsets improperly would hit the company with tough environmental penalties – something that would be avoided should the handsets be sold on.

This raises all kinds of questions of course. The Note 7 is still banned on certain airlines – although you’d imagine the searches are less thorough than they were back in September, when you couldn’t go a day without a headline to make a Samsung executive cry. Indeed, as recently as last month Verizon revealed that there were thousands of unreturned Note 7s in the United States alone, despite having its functionality limited as a safety precaution. Telling the new (presumably) safe models apart from the older explosive models could prove a problem. Perhaps that’s why Samsung is planning to limit the second coming to emerging markets…

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