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Should Samsung bother selling the Note 7 again?

by Brandon Russell | February 22, 2017February 22, 2017 9:30 am PST

Samsung’s reputation took a major hit following last year’s disastrous Galaxy Note 7 recall. But that apparently won’t stop the company from releasing refurbished models later this summer.

As the Korean Economic Daily reports, Samsung’s decision could be designed to minimize losses, which may have burned a $17 billion hole in the company’s pocket last year. So, the move may have less to do with giving consumers what they want (a phone that doesn’t catch fire) and more to do with business.

While fans of the Note 7 will surely be pleased with the device’s supposed resurrection, can we trust Samsung to re-release a device that has such a sour reputation?

This isn’t a debate about the phone’s quality. If not for its proclivity to catch fire, it would have been our favorite smartphone of 2016, no question. But Samsung already burned (no pun intended) consumers before.

When the Note 7 was first recalled, the company said only a small number of devices were affected, promising replacement units were perfectly safe. They weren’t. Soon after “safe” units were handed to customers, Note 7 owners found out those devices were affected as well, prompting Samsung to permanently cease production.

Granted, only a small number of units were reported to have caught fire—35 out of millions, according to Samsung. But because the issue lay with faulty batteries, it’s very possible there could have been more problems as time went on.

The good news is that if Samsung does bring the Note 7 back, it will launch with a smaller, “safer” battery—down to 3,200mAh from the Note 7’s original 3,500mAh. Still, is the device’s reputation damaged beyond repair for the company to even bother?

Samsung is no doubt aware of the phone’s powerful allure. People had to be forced to return the device once the recall was in effect. (I’m sure there are plenty of Note 7 owners still out there who refuse to give the device up.)

No doubt, you or someone you know responded with excitement when you heard about the Note 7’s potential re-release. I know we were excited. But don’t get your hopes too high. Even if the device does become available again, you probably won’t be able to get your hands on one.

According to the same Korean Economic Daily report, the device may only be sold in emerging markets such as India and Vietnam, making it much less accessible to the masses. And if it does come out in June, Samsung fans may not even care.

By then, the Galaxy S8 will have been released (hopefully without issue), followed by the Galaxy Note 8, which, last we heard, was still on track for a release later this year. I know people have a soft spot for the Note 7, but its comeback might be too little too late.

Not to mention, the device was banned from planes and trains around the world, so potential owners of the new Note 7 may find traveling with the device more of a headache than it’s worth. Plus, smartphones this year are already showing great promise to introduce a lot of new, exciting technology, so buying a phone that initially came out in August of 2016 may not be the best idea.

If the Note 7 does kick off its reunion tour, Samsung will need to take every precaution to make sure these devices are safe. The company’s investigation into the original problem involved 700 staff testing 200,000 Note 7s, so you’d think everything is squared away. But, there’s always going to be doubt.

Knowing there’s a Galaxy S8 and Note 8 on the horizon, would you still buy the Note 7 even after everything that’s happened?


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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