Some diehard Samsung fans are refusing to give up their explosion-prone Galaxy Note 7’s, and mobile networks are now taking the nuclear option: Remotely killing the phones with updates.
Android Authority reports that in the US, T-Mobile has begun rolling out an update to customers that will prevent their Galaxy Note 7 smartphones from charging, reminding them to return the faulty devices.
The other major American carriers are soon following suit: AT&T and Verizon are pushing out an update on January 5, and Sprint is doing so on January 8.
It sounds extreme, but if people are still using the Samsung Galaxy Note 7, it’s probably necessary. The phone was initially released to highly positive reviews in 2016 — but then it started exploding. It destroyed cars, burnt children, and gutted hotel rooms, and even a recall couldn’t fix it, prompting the South Korean company to discontinue it entirely.
It has since been officially recalled (meaning that, among other things, taking one on a plane in the US is now a federal crime).
But some phablet fans have previously said that they don’t want to give up their Note 7’s, they love them so much — a display of loyalty Samsung would appreciate if it wasn’t so misguided. “I’ve fallen in love with the curved, almost bezzle-less (sic) screen of the 7,” one customer told CNET. “I simply can not downgrade from that.”
Earlier in December, Samsung said that in the US, 2.7 million Note 7 phones — more than 90% of those sold — had been returned, meaning 300,000 or so American phones still haven’t been handed in, despite the risk.
Meanwhile in Europe, Samsung has used an update to limit Note 7 customers’ batteries to 30% of capacity to encourage them to hand them in.