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article imageGalaxy Note 7 returns: Samsung to sell refurbished phones

By James Walker     Feb 21, 2017 in Technology
Samsung intends to resume sales of its recalled Galaxy Note 7 smartphone within a matter of months, according to reports today. In a bid to recoup some of its losses, the company will refurbish many of its recovered handsets and install smaller batteries.
Korean news site Hankyung revealed today that Samsung is preparing to announce the next twist in the Note 7's long and explosive story. After being recalled twice and subsequently rendered unusable by many mobile networks worldwide, the discredited flagship could be set to rise once more.
Samsung plans to sell the Note 7 as a "refurbished" device. Drawing on its stocks of millions of handsets, it will fit a new case to each phone and install a revised, smaller battery. Capacity will be reduced from 3,500mAh on the original Note 7 to between 3,000 and 3,200mAh.
It's unlikely the phones will be making an appearance in the U.S. and Europe. Samsung is instead targeting emerging markets with less stringent regulation for its cautious relaunch of the device.
Countries including India and Vietnam will be the first to receive the modified handsets. It can be assumed Samsung will extensively test its choice of battery before selling any device, ensuring it doesn't end up starting even more fires. The company is expected to use its new 8-point battery safety code to verify the phones are safe to use.
Samsung concluded its investigation into the cause of the Note 7's battery fires last month. The batteries in the original phones were slightly too large for their housing, causing the negative electrode to be pinched inwards and forced against positively-charged plates. This caused a short circuit.
A separate issue in phones forming part of the recall batch also allowed the positive and negative electrodes to meet. Welding burrs penetrated the insulating tape between the electrodes. The issue was compounded by a complete lack of tape on some devices. The company apparently rushed production of the new phones, making mistakes along the way.
After being forced to recall every Note 7 sold, Samsung has a stockpile of roughly 2.5 million devices stored at its manufacturing facilities. It managed to use around 200,000 phones while working out the cause of the explosions but still has an overwhelming number of handsets to dispose of. 98 percent of units sold have now been returned to the company.
Refurbishing the phones could allow Samsung to lessen the monetary impact of writing off the Note 7. Installing new batteries and selling the devices at a lower price is likely to be a more cost-effective option than ordering the direct disposal of every phone.
According to the report, the decision has also been influenced by environmental considerations. Korea simply doesn't have the capacity to handle such a large volume of electronic waste. The government's environment ministry has previously warned Samsung it could be fined if the phones are not properly disposed of. The best option for the company is putting the devices back on sale and hoping consumers will overlook the Note 7's fiery past.
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